When a 21 year old girl is suffering a mental health crisis, but medically doesn't need A&E, two paramedics from Gloucester take responsibility for the situation and stay with the patient for 5 HOURS....
|©Nick Obank - Helena Stone|
On the 2nd of May 2018, Jimmy and Andy from South West Ambulance Service, received a call out from control, to the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham. They were informed that it was a 21 year old girl who was suicidal and suffered from a chronic pain condition, CRPS.
When they arrived with me at 9:30am, Jimmy immediately made me feel safe and that he and Andy were going to listen and help me. Something I hadn't felt in the few days leading up to the event. They sat there and listened whilst I explained the situation to them, they immediately looked up what CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) was and looking at ways they could help me.
The situation leading up to this call out in short, was a perfect storm. I had suffered bullying, online abuse, stress and a CRPS flare up. Leading me to be bed bound from the Monday. I hadn't eaten since Monday late morning, I had been throwing up due to pain and distress. Unfortunately for whatever reason the seriousness of my situation had not been realised by the university. But at this point that didn't matter, I was safe and my road to recovery had started.
In the FIVE hours that followed, Andy and Jimmy did everything they could to keep me calm and feel safe. They sat there listening, telling me stories and listening to my stories, from about my work with Alex Chalk to my kayaking days. They allowed me to become distressed when I needed to but were always able to calm me back down. Providing entanox for pain relief for the CRPS. They were telling me how brave I was and how impressed they were with what I had achieved with my CRPS campaign. By lucky coincidence Jimmy was a recent graduate from the University of Gloucestershire, so he went round numerous members of staff, to make sure the seriousness of the situation was clear to the university and to make sure I got the support I needed from the university. He didn't have to but he did.
Now it is important to emphasise that medically they could have left me and there was not much point taking me to A&E, but they didn't. They decided that I had been through enough and needed moral and possible medical support until my mum arrived (she had driven up from home). Telling control that they had to stay with the patient. This is going way above their call of duty.
They sorted out my regular medications, phoned my GP, spoke to my worried parents and more importantly gave me the privacy and support I badly needed.
Jimmy managed to get a senior member of the welfare team at the university to come and see me (who consequently has sorted out the university situation) and waited until my mum turned up. We sat there talking and both Jamie and Andy were giving me words of wisdom and encouragement, that I did have a future, a short break at home and I should come back to university to finish the academic year. Some of which in the weeks that have followed I still remind myself of. I won't disclose what they are, you will have to ask Jimmy and Andy if you want to know! Both came up with the suggestion that I could be autistic. This suggestion could potentially change my life forever as it made me realise that there may be a reason for a lot of things. To me a label means help and support, the potential support I could get with this label could change my life. Again going beyond their remit and call of duty.
At 2pm my mum arrived, they could have left me with her but they didn't. They stayed and waited until a decision was made as to where I was going and whether I needed any assistance to get to the car. Eventually at 2:30pm, 5hrs after they arrived Andy and Jimmy managed to transfer me from my bed to the car, meanwhile giving advice and support to my mum.
I fully believe if it was not for their actions that day and turning up when they did, I probably wouldn't be here or be able to write this. They saved my life and my future, they gave me hope. Every time I have struggled since I just remember what Andy and Jimmy told me and how much they cared, and it cheers me up a bit and gives me hope.
Paramedics are trained in treating medical emergencies, such as a heart attack and not really how to deal with mental health crisis. They went above and beyond their call of duty that day and I feel their actions are to be commended.
As a consequence of going above their call of duty, I am on the road to recovery and my future looks a lot brighter, in terms of mental health. They gave me the perfect starting place to make a recovery.
Jimmy and Andy from South West Ambulance Service, Gloucester, thank you so much!!😀