Post 49 Medical Emergency at the Music Festival

The weather forecast was for fine, sunny weather so I set off for a walk that included a small hill.  It was on the way down that I came a cropper.    Perhaps I simply wasn’t looking where I was going, but one minute I was strolling along without a care in the world, the next I was flying, head-over-heels, onto the stony path.   I escaped with a bruise on my forehead, wounded pride, and broken glasses; they had snapped across the bridge.   I dusted myself off, then patched up my glasses with some adhesive plaster from my first aid kit and resolved to be more careful in the future.  

The next day I joined the small team of doctors, nurses and paramedics that act as the emergency team for a well known music festival.   I form part of a small team of doctors, nurses and paramedics from both the county ambulance service and the St John's Ambulance Brigade.

 Our brief is to provide immediate resuscitation and triage should an emergency arise in the crowd.   We are supported by a ‘snatch squad’ who are able to dive into the mass of partygoers, many of whom are fuelled with alcohol and drugs and hoist out anyone who collapses.    It wasn’t long before I received a message in my radio earplug, to say they were bringing in an unconscious collapsed male in his late-20s.

He arrived two minutes later.   We had no couches at the forward post, so the stretcher was laid on the floor, and I knelt down to assess him.   I had to adjust my glasses which were sitting rather cock-eyed on my nose.

Most of the festival-goers who needed treatment had problems due to a combination of alcohol, opiates, diazepam derivatives, amphetamines, and dehydration.   This man was moderately deep with a Glasgow Coma Score of 5-6.   He was hypoventilating and his oxygen saturation level was low.   I set up an intravenous line, administered fluids, and gave him some initial Naloxone. Anxiously, I knelt over him to judge his response.   I needed to decide whether he could stay on-site, or if he required transfer to the local hospital for more intensive treatment.    A paramedic and several others in the tent watched, equally concerned.

Slowly, he started to stir, then gradually opened his eyes.   He gazed up, looking at me intently. He then started to speak in long, drawn-out syllables, accentuating his words with vague uncoordinated movements of his arms.

‘Yooooouuuuu’ he said very slowly, ‘neeeeeeed....’ he paused, ‘tooo goooh too....’ a longer pause, his arms still waving vaguely in the air...  'SpecSavers.’

This rather unexpected comment caused great hilarity within the ranks.   Our patient then passed out again, and we continued with his resuscitation until success was finally achieved.

I took my glasses for repair the next day.

                                                                                 (Based on a story by Dr Ian Gibson)

Thought for the day

Cocaine habit forming? Of course not. I ought to know. I’ve been using it for years.   Tallulah Bankhead 1903 - 1968

If you enjoyed this short story, you will also enjoy reading ‘All in a Doctor’s Day’. A collection of 45 short stories all with a medical flavour.
The stories lift the lid on the good, the bad and the ugly that I have experienced working for 40 years in the NHS.
Some of the stories will make you laugh, some will bring tears to your eyes and others have a surprising twist in the tail. 
They feature patients, doctors and nurses, blood, sweat and toil, heartache and joy.    Available on line as paperback and Kindle.


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