I may have helped save a life yesterday. Don’t know really, you’d have to ask the paramedics if the guy was in any real danger. However, did what I could and hoped for the best.
I’m checking a car park; usual drill, permits and display ticket checks when I come across a car with the driver still inside. He looked at first glance as if he was asleep; head slumped against the door pillar, looking rather pale. To be honest, if he hadn’t been so badly parked, slewed across two bays, I would have just walked on by.
Normally, when we come to a vehicle parked like that, the rules say ‘Issue a ticket’ for the offence of taking up two parking bays and ignore the driver, but something about his appearance tweaked at my memory. On second glance his eyes were half open and the gaze a little fixed, staring at the dashboard, pupils constricted. To start with I waved my hand through his line of sight to get his attention. Nothing happening. Next I tried talking to him. “Excuse me sir.” No response. “Hello!” Nada. I can see he’s still breathing, but he looks very odd. Not just having a nap. What do I do? I know who’s on CCTV this shift and they’ll only piss me about if I try to get them to call it in. Sod it. Took out my mobile phone and made a 999 call.
I got put through to the Ambulance dispatchers desk and told them what I’d found. “Got an unconscious male seated in a vehicle.” Rattled off the car park location. “Unresponsive. I think it’s not just someone having a kip.”
This is when I stepped over a very thin line and did something my Managers would have gone apeshit at me for. Having had no luck with waving and shouting, I reached into the car through the half open drivers window. This is such a big no-no that it might have meant a disciplinary notice if I was seen. Put my hand to the guys forehead. He’s sweaty and clammy to the touch. Carotid
pulse, there it is, slow and steady; at least he’s not having a heart attack (I think). There’s a particular smell about him too that rings loud alarm bells in my head.
Managed to get the drivers side window down fully while giving a running commentary to dispatch. Driver moves slightly. “Can you hear me sir?” His lips move but he makes no sense. He tries to answer but drifts off to sleep again. Bugger!
Dispatch confirms Ambulance en route. Another problem. This is a multi storey and they won’t be able to get into the car park because there’s only just over a two metre height clearance. I put a call out for assistance to any of the other guys. Damn! No one within close walking distance responds. I’ll have to leave him. I do the best I can to ensure he doesn’t come to harm and go out to wave the ambulance down. All the time I’m trying not to panic and make the correct decisions.
Around five minutes later I’m at street level waving the welcome sight of an Ambulance into a space I’ve commandeered, much to the fist shaking anger of a couple of motorists who wanted to park there.
“Okay chaps. He’s up on the fourth floor.” I lead the kit-laden Paramedics up the stinking stairwell and over to the guys car. One of the Paramedics runs a few questions past me and I let them do their job while I call the guys car in as an exempt vehicle. To make sure, I mark up an empty PCN envelope and stick it on his windscreen. The Paramedics look askance at this.
“Just so no one else books him.” I tell them. “There’s no ticket in it.”
“We’re not stopping you getting your quota are we?” One of them (I think) teases.
“We don’t get quota’s. We get measured on how much we patrol.” Although senior Management have hinted darkly that we ‘should’ be getting ‘over one and a half penalty charge notices (Parking tickets) an hour.’ Right, like that’s going to happen.
“Oh, right.” He asks me about what the patient has said and / or done and I answer as best I can, keeping it short and factual. They’ve hooked him up to a few monitors and checked his blood sugar. I think the reading was 3.1
or something very low like that. The Paramedics give him an injection of, I think it was glucose solution, and the change was almost instantaneous. After a few seconds the patients head came up, his eyes focussed and in less than a couple of minutes he’s merrily chatting away with them while I fade into the background and wander off to check the other floors.
When I return ten minutes later, I find one of the guys in green wheeling a stretcher up the ramps. I lend a hand as it rattles and bounces over the rough concrete floors. A couple of cars back up behind us on the ramps, their drivers looking daggers at us. Well, we’re in their way aren’t we? Especially that bloody Parking Warden!
As we return to the fourth floor the patient is still a little out of it, but aware enough to notice things. The moment we approach with the stretcher he complains “You’ve booked my bloody car you bastard!”
“No I haven’t.” I tell him as the Paramedics do their stuff.
“What the hell’s that then!” He’s seen the PCN envelope on his window. “You’d book your own Mother, you bastard!”
“It’s empty sir.”
“It’s empty.” I repeat. “There’s no ticket in it. It’s just there to stop anyone else booking your car.” The Paramedics share a smirk behind his back; patient has the good grace to look embarrassed as they ease him on to the stretcher. They obviously think he was so bad that it justifies taking him in to Accident and Emergency. “Oh.”
“That’s okay sir, I’m used to it.” His embarrassed silence is eloquence personified.
At this point I step over another line in the sand. “Tell you what sir. Lend me your keys for a moment and I’ll park it up properly for you. It’s a bit skewed and it’ll save any misunderstandings later.” He nods, a little mollified and hands over his car keys. I straighten his car up, making sure it’s neatly parked, lock it up and hand him his keys as the Paramedics load him into the Ambulance. By this time, he’s on his mobile to whoever, giving instructions as to where to pick up his car. Patient nods his thanks. It’s all I’ll get.
Just as they are about to move off, I ask the Paramedic Driving “Hypo
?” Meaning ‘hypoglycaemic’.
“Yes. His blood sugar was close to the basement. Looks like you found him just before he went into a coma.”
“So that’s why you’re taking him in?” I ask.
“Best to be on the safe side. He’s in no condition to drive.” Replies the Paramedic.
“Okay mate. See you around.” I step back and watch the Ambulance pull away before resuming my patrol. Total time elapsed; Thirty five minutes. I write the incident up in my pocket note book just so I have a record. Just in case Management ask; “What the hell were you doing in that car park for more than twenty minutes
Just as I round the corner I run into ‘Braveheart’ coming the other way. “Hello Bill. Heard you on the Radio. What happened?”
“Guy in the car park, comatose. Had to call an ambulance.” I respond. I really don’t like this guy; if anyone reminds me of ‘Blakey
’ from ‘On the Buses’
“Quiet day.” For him, maybe
“Where’ve you been?” I ask casually, thinking; where were you when I needed help - you idle sod?
“Just round the corner.” Yeah, right. Having a crafty smoke no doubt
“Busy?” I ask. Like hell you were
“Nah.” Thought as much
“Yeah well, got to get on.” I don’t want to be seen with this skiving sod
“Ta-ra.” He moves on, as do I.
Around another corner and halfway down the street I see a Porsche sat cheeky as you please on ‘loading restricted’ double yellows. He’s still there just under ten minutes later sporting one of my carefully crafted Parking Tickets as a sexy new windscreen accessory. Just as I’m walking away the driver arrives and snarls insults at my retreating back. Hi ho. Business as usual.