UK Woman “Refused Ambulance”? Hey UK peeps, question for ya

This was the headline on the Drudge Report: “UK System: Woman gives birth on pavement ‘after being refused ambulance’” It was immediately preceeded by a comment on the Canadian healthcare system.

Scary stuff there, those UK and Canadian socialized medicine systems. Right?

Drudge, who’s site I go to like 17times a day if I’m bored (or if I can’t find something to blog about and want to do something else) wants to report on the coming healthcare mess that’s being um… (oh what’s the word) “Fixed” by our politicians.

But this story… Um, guys? This isn’t about the ambulance system refusing ambulance care to an expectant mother… I would think that this is about a system abuser who couldn’t bear to plan her arrival at the hospital so that she could deliver her baby in the manner she planned.

First of all, I’m not for socialized medicine and I don’t think that the UK system is perfect in any stretch of the imagination. I’m also terrified of Obamacare and/or whatever the US politicians do to try to “fix” our healthcare.

However, the fact remains that this headline looked to me like it was bringing shame upon the UK ambulance service, or should I say now that I’ve made so many UK Medic friends: Looked like it was bringing shame upon Our Brothers in the UK Ambulance Service.

So let’s dissect the article, shall we?

A young mother gave birth on a pavement outside a hospital after she was told to
make her own way there.
Mother-of-three Carmen Blake called her midwife
to
ask for an ambulance when she went into labour unexpectedly with her
fourth
child.
But the 27-year-old claims she was refused an ambulance and
told to
walk the 100m from her house in Leicester to the city’s nearby Royal
Infirmary.

Cue the picture of the loving mother with the cute baby.

So the mother goes into labor unexpectedly? Ok, quite possible and plausible.

She calls “her midwife” to get a ambulance called to her house to help her? Well, I don’t know how that system works over there, but I guess that some people here call their doctor’s office when they feel sick and want an ambulance. It’s not the right thing to do and it’s not smart, but people still do it when they’re scared and they want someone they’re familiar with to help them. I can understand it. It may be reasonable and proper for this to happen in the UK. At least she didn’t want to be a 999 abuser, I guess.

She um, what?

She couldn’t make it the 100m (That’s 300 feet for us US types who use the “real” or “correct” system)

Ok, well maybe she had kids to take care of, or something. I don’t know.

‘They said they were not sending an ambulance and told me I had had nine months to sort out a lift.

This sentence made me laugh. Oh my. Delivering a baby isn’t something we do often here in the US because, well, people tend to make their own way to the hospital. I’ve delivered 5 and a half babies in my career. 3 in the hospital, one on someone’s living room floor, one in the back of an ambulance in Costa Rica, and a placenta in the ghetto somewhere – hence the half. The fact that I have only had two and a half field deliveries in the ten years that I’ve been in this game full time means that lots and lots of women find time to “sort out a lift” in the 9 months they’re preggers.

It turns out that the woman tried to make the walk and that she went into really active labor. A passerby happened to be a “physiotherapist” (I assume that’s a physical therapist) and the passerby called 999 and delivered the baby on the concrete. Shortly thereafter, 999 arrived and, I assume walked the patients the remaining 100 feet to the hospital.

I think that if the woman called 999 in the first place she would have gotten the ambulance right away, right?

I also think that if she had planned a bit, or honestly if she had time to, that she could have gotten another ride.

I don’t think that this would be the fault of the ambulance folks. And as scared as I am about socialized medicine: Drudge, leave the paramedics alone.

  • SJMedic

    100m? Open up your door and yell for help. There has got to be at least one nurse outside on a smoke break.

  • The Happy Medic

    I think it's amazing that this has been going on for 10's of thousands of years, yet has "required" medical assistance only in the last 30-50 years.

    Left out of your run down was the health of the mother and the child. I assume fine?

    I'm also curious about the aspects of "Obamacare" that "terrify" you?

  • Dani

    Obamacare scares the shit out of me too, mainly because we can already see how poorly its working worldwide. Maybe its because I haven't had time to research beyond what is overheard on TV and nurses stations, but *shivers*…

    As for this, she really could've walked or yelled for help? I'm with you, leave the paramedics alone.

  • medicblog999

    Right then, here is what I think happened:

    The lady will have rung her midwife, either hospital ward or community based, to state that she was contracting and should she come in. The midwife would have said for her to come in, but make her own way to hospital. I get my fair share of maternity admissions on the ambulance, but every time I get onto the assessment ward/suite I stand back and listen to the woman getting told off for calling 999 for basically a taxi job.
    Sometimes the midwives will ask for an ambulance, but there will be a clinical need for that.

    If the woman had rung 999 without calling the midwife first, then it is highly probable that an ambulance would have been sent, especially if she said the magic words of 'wanting to push' or 'bearing down pain'. Even when the NHS pathways triage system is used, there are very few pathways which end in 'own transport' for a pregnant lady.

    What happened in the article is obviously a very fast progressive labour which could not have been predicted.

    The only way that this can be avoided is to take every patient who calls the maternity unit or 999 to hospital, without question, but that is what we are striving to get away from over here. There will always be risk involved with leaving people at home or asking them to make their own way to hospital.

    Many of you have been amazed at our abilities to not transport patients to hospital and refer on to appropriate providers for their need, however, you cant have one without the other i.e. you cant take all the benefit without accepting some of the risk.

  • Mike

    CK stop relying on Glenn beck and Drudge for your information on the NHS – google any UK newspaper (Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Sun, Mirror) for much more in-depth coverage.
    I'm an American paramedic (past 22 years) who was born and raised in the UK, leaving when I was 21 years old. My mother and sister still live there and both have medical problems; mum's an O2 dependent COPD'er and my sister gets dialysis trice-weekly and is waiting for a kidney (she's also a pediatric nurse in the NHS)
    Both get excellent care, as good as any I've seen here – without the administrative hassle.
    As for your fears for "Obama-care" you are entitled to any fear you chose, my fear is how to get health insurance for my 20 year old daughter for less than $1000/month

  • KH

    One of the pet moans of UK ambo services is that people are never refused ambulances regardless of the reason for calling. This does mean we all have a stock of stories called "the stupidest thing someone's called an ambulance for".

    "Maternataxis" are very common in some parts of the country here, quite rare in others. As Ben has said, here the midwife told her not to call an ambulance, had she called 999 she would almost certainly have got one, to much eye rolling from the crew.

  • Joseph

    My mother-in-law ,aged 58 , while on short visit from Madid fell sick, complaining about intensive pains in her back while lying down- she was unable to walk.Immediately my wife who was at home with the kids called 999 for an ambulance but was refused help. she was told that her case was not serious enough for an ambulance to be allocated.my wife called me in the panic and I immediately left for home but arrived about 35 minutes later. upon arrival I could not believe that all our efforts to convince 999 to send help was refused. they asked; don磘 you have a car? we replied; `no' because we really don't have one. They insisted that we call Taxi,relatives or neighbours since the patient must be conveyed to hospital via alternative means.However, we finally persuaded mini- cab service to help us-The patient remain in the Emegency ward of Newham Hospital for 3 days.She returned to spain for further treatment but decided not to return to England due to her experience.she is a vulnerable sick patient previously diagnosed with创acute parkinson and kidney problems创 and thinks help might be denied upon illness sudden attack.we have now lost faith in the 999.Our children are yet to understand why their sick grand mum was left to suffer. we now have to prepare against emergencies as would happen in 3rd world countries.It is very sad to hear about many similar cases of ambulance refusal without appropriate measures to rectify this shameful societal ill.

  • Joseph

    My mother-in-law ,aged 58 , while on short visit from Madid fell sick, complaining about intensive pains in her back while lying down- she was unable to walk.Immediately my wife who was at home with the kids called 999 for an ambulance but was refused help. she was told that her case was not serious enough for an ambulance to be allocated.my wife called me in the panic and I immediately left for home but arrived about 35 minutes later. upon arrival I could not believe that all our efforts to convince 999 to send help was refused. they asked; don磘 you have a car? we replied; `no' because we really don't have one. They insisted that we call Taxi,relatives or neighbours since the patient must be conveyed to hospital via alternative means.However, we finally persuaded mini- cab service to help us-The patient remain in the Emegency ward of Newham Hospital for 3 days.She returned to spain for further treatment but decided not to return to England due to her experience.she is a vulnerable sick patient previously diagnosed with创acute parkinson and kidney problems创 and thinks help might be denied upon illness sudden attack.we have now lost faith in the 999.Our children are yet to understand why their sick grand mum was left to suffer. we now have to prepare against emergencies as would happen in 3rd world countries.It is very sad to hear about many similar cases of ambulance refusal without appropriate measures to rectify this shameful societal ill.

  • Joseph

    My mother-in-law ,aged 58 , while on short visit from Madid fell sick, complaining about intensive pains in her back while lying down- she was unable to walk.Immediately my wife who was at home with the kids called 999 for an ambulance but was refused help. she was told that her case was not serious enough for an ambulance to be allocated.my wife called me in the panic and I immediately left for home but arrived about 35 minutes later. upon arrival I could not believe that all our efforts to convince 999 to send help was refused. they asked; don磘 you have a car? we replied; `no' because we really don't have one. They insisted that we call Taxi,relatives or neighbours since the patient must be conveyed to hospital via alternative means.However, we finally persuaded mini- cab service to help us-The patient remain in the Emegency ward of Newham Hospital for 3 days.She returned to spain for further treatment but decided not to return to England due to her experience.she is a vulnerable sick patient previously diagnosed with创acute parkinson and kidney problems创 and thinks help might be denied upon illness sudden attack.we have now lost faith in the 999.Our children are yet to understand why their sick grand mum was left to suffer. we now have to prepare against emergencies as would happen in 3rd world countries.It is very sad to hear about many similar cases of ambulance refusal without appropriate measures to rectify this shameful societal ill.

background image Blogger Img

Chris Kaiser aka "Ckemtp"

I am a paramedic trying to advance the idea that the Emergency Medical Services can be made into the profession that we all want it, need it, and know it deserves to be.

JEMS Talk: Google Hangout

Categories
  • 2009 (2)
  • 911 (4)
  • 911 fail (20)
  • accident (4)
  • ACLS (3)
  • Administration & Leadership (85)
  • aed (2)
  • AHA (3)
  • Als (9)
  • ALS Intercept (14)
  • Ambulance (90)
  • Ambulance cleaning (4)
  • Ambulance Driver (6)
  • ambulance humor (20)
  • Ambulance maintenance (4)
  • ambulance report (3)
  • American Heart Association (3)
  • amulance (1)
  • appreciation (13)
  • attack (2)
  • bad calls (5)
  • Bed pan (1)
  • Bed pans (1)
  • bedpan (1)
  • bernoulli (1)
  • blog (5)
  • blogger (4)
  • blogosphere (3)
  • boy scouts (1)
  • camaraderie (2)
  • Case law (2)
  • cat puke (1)
  • cats (1)
  • CCC (5)
  • CCR (7)
  • CDC (1)
  • change (20)
  • chart (1)
  • CISD (3)
  • ckemtp (14)
  • ckemtp rants (29)
  • cnn fail (1)
  • code-3 (2)
  • comfort (1)
  • Command & Leadership (54)
  • cool pics of thunderstorm (1)
  • courtesy (2)
  • cpr (10)
  • cpr fail (4)
  • cpr save (4)
  • crisis (6)
  • dave barry (2)
  • dextrocardia (1)
  • disaster (2)
  • disinfection (4)
  • Dispatch & Communications (2)
  • DNR (5)
  • Do Not Resuscitate Order (5)
  • domestic violence (1)
  • Dr. Bledsoe (1)
  • drive fast (2)
  • duty boots (2)
  • Economics (17)
  • edemse (28)
  • EKG (10)
  • Emergency Communications (5)
  • Emergency Medical Services (189)
  • Emergency Nurse (11)
  • Emergency room (11)
  • Emergency Room Nurse (5)
  • emotions (17)
  • EMS (250)
  • ems 2.0 (67)
  • EMS Blog (19)
  • EMS Blog Carnival (3)
  • EMS blogosphere (11)
  • ems boots (1)
  • EMS Conference (4)
  • EMS Dispatch (3)
  • ems education (54)
  • EMS ethics (54)
  • ems garage (2)
  • EMS Health & Safety (69)
  • EMS Humor (41)
  • EMS Management (52)
  • EMS Motivation (21)
  • EMS motivational posters (1)
  • ems narrative (7)
  • EMS narrative report (6)
  • ems pants (1)
  • EMS paramedics (25)
  • ems patient care report (6)
  • EMS pay sucks (7)
  • ems pcr (1)
  • EMS pep talk (21)
  • EMS practice (8)
  • EMS protocol project (1)
  • EMS protocols (12)
  • EMS rant (27)
  • ems report (3)
  • EMS safety (10)
  • ems salary (8)
  • ems scenario (9)
  • ems scenario based education (12)
  • EMS system (9)
  • EMS Topics (237)
  • EMS training (58)
  • ems uniforms (1)
  • EMS week (10)
  • EMS Week 2009 (2)
  • ems week 2010 (8)
  • EMT (73)
  • emt narrative (3)
  • EMT-Intermediate (6)
  • EMT-Paramedic Specialist (5)
  • ER (8)
  • ET Intubation (3)
  • Ethics (27)
  • everyday ems ethics (29)
  • explosion video (1)
  • extrication (1)
  • ez-io (2)
  • FEMA (2)
  • fire (13)
  • fire boots (2)
  • Fire department (38)
  • fire department taser training (1)
  • Fire Dispatch (1)
  • Fire Prevention & Education (4)
  • Fire Rescue Topics (96)
  • fire truck (1)
  • Firefighter (21)
  • Firefighter Safety & Health (20)
  • firefighter Tazed (1)
  • Firefighting Operations (4)
  • Fires (2)
  • first call (1)
  • first day of school (1)
  • first responder (2)
  • friendly (1)
  • Funding & Staffing (15)
  • funny (8)
  • grumblemedics (6)
  • Happy Medic (2)
  • harry reid (1)
  • HazMat (1)
  • hospital (5)
  • humor (14)
  • hurricane (1)
  • idph (3)
  • illinois (4)
  • In the Line of Duty (13)
  • infection control (5)
  • information (1)
  • inside the mind of a paramedic (16)
  • intraosseous (3)
  • Introduction (1)
  • intubation (3)
  • IO (3)
  • Iowa (4)
  • Iowa EMS (4)
  • ireland (1)
  • Irish EMS (1)
  • IV (3)
  • jaws of life (1)
  • kindergarten (1)
  • kneeling (1)
  • las vegas review journal (1)
  • Letter (2)
  • letter to the editor (4)
  • lights and sirens (2)
  • Line of Duty (12)
  • link (3)
  • MABAS (1)
  • Magnum boots (2)
  • magnum elite equipment (2)
  • mainstream media sucks (3)
  • Major Incidents (3)
  • Management (10)
  • Mass Casualty Incident (1)
  • medical ethics (19)
  • medicblog999 (7)
  • mental illness (2)
  • mental imagery (6)
  • Mission Lifeline (1)
  • Music (1)
  • narrative (4)
  • narrative report (3)
  • new perspective (16)
  • News (23)
  • newspaper (3)
  • NOAA (1)
  • northern illinois (3)
  • nursing home (2)
  • obama (1)
  • odansetron (2)
  • Paramedic (195)
  • paramedic education (74)
  • paramedic narrative (7)
  • paramedic pants (1)
  • paramedic salary (11)
  • Patient Assessment (7)
  • patient care (37)
  • Patient Handovers (3)
  • Patient Management (77)
  • pcr (2)
  • pediatric cardiology (2)
  • physician (10)
  • politics (36)
  • potential (14)
  • PR (5)
  • pride (15)
  • profession (27)
  • professionalism (32)
  • Protocol development (5)
  • psychology (6)
  • Public relations (14)
  • puke (2)
  • rant (7)
  • relationships (2)
  • renaisance (1)
  • rescue (1)
  • rescuing providence (1)
  • RN (3)
  • Rockford (1)
  • roll-over (1)
  • run sheet (2)
  • rural ems (3)
  • sadness (6)
  • safety (4)
  • salary (7)
  • sanitize (3)
  • save (3)
  • scenario (13)
  • scenario based training (15)
  • school bus (1)
  • Scope of Practice (4)
  • severe storm pictures (2)
  • sherman frederick (1)
  • shift length (2)
  • show tunes (1)
  • SitRep (1)
  • Skilled Nursing Facility (2)
  • SMG (7)
  • SMO (7)
  • soap (4)
  • soap charting (3)
  • socialized medicine (4)
  • southern wisconsin (4)
  • Special Operations (1)
  • STEMI (8)
  • stories (11)
  • swine flu (2)
  • Taser (1)
  • tattoo (1)
  • tattoo humor (1)
  • Technology & Communications (9)
  • technology-communications-ems-topics (10)
  • thank you (3)
  • The EMT Spot (2)
  • The Handover (3)
  • The Shine Factor (2)
  • thom dick (1)
  • thunderstorm (1)
  • train derailment (1)
  • train explosion (1)
  • Training (16)
  • Training & Development (49)
  • training-fire-rescue-topics (19)
  • Transfer of Care (1)
  • UK Child custody (1)
  • UK medic attacked (1)
  • UK paramedics (5)
  • Uncategorized (230)
  • united kingdom (4)
  • universal healthcare (5)
  • us (2)
  • US economy (11)
  • Vehicle Operation & Ambulances (3)
  • Vehicle Operations & Apparatus (1)
  • Videos (3)
  • volunteer fire department (9)
  • volunteer firefighter (6)
  • wall cloud (1)
  • Week (1)
  • whattaya do (4)
  • when god made paramedics (1)
  • wisconsin (3)
  • wolf parkinson white (1)
  • wpw (1)
  • wpw syndrome (1)
  • Your Happy Medic (5)
  • zofran (1)
  • Comments
    Steel City Medic
    Welcome to the Club
    Particularly appropriate for me this week. Thanks.
    2014-09-23 21:46:00
    DiverMedic
    Welcome to the Club
    Very well done, Chris.
    2014-09-17 22:15:00
    DiverMedic
    My Blogroll
    One of these days you'll figure out where my blog is... :)
    2014-09-17 22:11:00
    emtterri123
    Six Tricks You Can Use Today to Improve Your EMS Narrative Report
    The first and best way to get people reading you to think that you are an idiot is to pepper your writing with spelling and grammatical errors. It makes you look dumb. - Me thinks this should have been restructured as it does not flow and caused me to reread it several times. lol :)
    2014-09-17 08:27:00
    easy
    Saved by the Bell? High School Student EMS
    Do you need a Loan? Are you looking for Finance? Are you looking for a Loan to enlarge your business? I think you have come to the right place. We offer Loans atlow interest rate. Interested people should please contact us on For immediate response to your application, Kindly reply to this emails below only.…
    2014-09-14 06:30:00

    Care to Search the Blog?

    FireEMS Blogs eNewsletter

    Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter

    LATEST EMS NEWS

    HOT FORUM DISCUSSIONS