‘A’ (cat) Sore Throat

Open wide.

Another ‘A’ category call for ‘extreme difficulty breathing’.

The small lounge I was directed to was full of people. Grandad had pride of place at the end of the settee nearest the fire, with various grown up children and assorted in-laws scattered around. All of them looked well. No one appeared to be having the remotest difficulty in breathing.

“Hello, who’ve I come to see then?”
“It’s me.” replied grandad.
“What seems to be the problem?”
“He’s not breathing properly,” pipped up one of the female adults.
“He’s only just come out of hospital,” said another.
I knelt down by granddad. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“I had one of those allergic reaction things last week.”
“He had to go to hospital,” butted in someone.
“I had tubes and stuff in my arm.”
“And he was in for 4 days, and came out this morning.” Miss interruption again.
“So what is the problem today?”
“It hurts when I breathe.”
“In what way does it hurt?”
“My throat’s sore.”
“Are you having any problems actually breathing in and out?”
“No, it just hurts my throat.”
OK, so this chap has been hospitalised following an episode of anaphylaxis, I wonder…
“When you were in hospital did they keep you on ITU, the intensive care unit?”
“And did they put a tube down your throat to help you breathe?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“And did they not tell you that you were likely to have a sore throat for a while?”
“Can’t remember.”
“Well best thing for you young man is some ice-cream to help ease that throat.”

A nice easy job. Everyone happy. Lots of thanks and some apologies from the lady that dialed 999.

Well done to AMPDS for another success in identifying a sore throat as ‘extreme difficulty in breathing’.


8 Responses to ‘A’ (cat) Sore Throat

  1. Kingmagic says:

    Yet another job via AMPDS which puts forward the caller as a Cat A red call leading to us flying around to meet ORCON standards.
    Someone, sooner or later, is going to get seriously injured or killed driving to these things. The responses are going to be with these Cat As:
    …drive there progressively (not fast) as it must be life threatening,
    …bimble to the job, as its going to be bugger all,

    leading to:
    …more chance of a RTC leading to serious injury/death and wrecked vehicles,
    …missing out on ORCON leaving mangement to get on our backs,
    …a real life threatening job not being hit quick enough due to no crews,
    …less time for breaks as the Cat A is the most serious,
    …further drop in morale,
    …further distrust in the AMPDS system,

    The whole Cat A thing is nothing but a con.
    Bring back discretion in control and let humans have a say.

  2. Tom says:

    As a non ambulance person may I ask, what was the system before AMPDS? How would it have picked this out as a sore throte rather than life threatening DIB? T.

  3. BananaHammock says:

    Hmmm…reminds me of a certain incident I was called to several months ago… Called to a Cat B Haemorrage/Lacerations, for an individual with a bleeding injection site. I enquired as to the availability of an ECP (recognising that a front-line emergency ambulance was just a little excessive, and further recognising that an ECP was probably equally so, but…) only to be told it had been coded as Cat B and the ECP couldn’t deal as a result!

    When we arrived, blue lights going and sirens wailing, the twenty mile journey was made so worth it when I found the gaping wound – it was pointed out to me by the patient several times before I could see it – and stuck one of the patients’ own sticking plasters on it.

    I left without a word.

    Bizarrely, the following job was another bleeding thing. It had been passed as a Cat C, and even from the details we had (ie very little, as per usual), we knew we had to boot it there. IV fluids, a pre-alert to the nearest hospital, and serious brown trousers was the result!

    AMPDS sucks.

  4. Iain MacBain says:

    I’ve ranted bfore about the piss that is AMPDS. The first thing, or one of them, your told at school is not to be machine led. AMPDS is a machine and it leads. Stub you toe and it hurts. Pain will make you breath fast. Code 06, DIB.

    I recon that only1 in 5 red calls requires such a response. Not to say I dont like driving on the wrong side of the road but it will kill somebode someday — it probably already has.

  5. Kingmagic says:

    I can see the day when they make ALL calls Cat As.
    Remember that the ORCON is going to change to 95% of the time as opposed to 75% at the moment!
    And there has been talk of reducing the response time to 5 minutes!!!
    So it will be easier for audit purposes if everything is made Cat A!
    We will need a massive intake of new staff to enable us to have a crew/RRV/RFU/first responder etc. so we can be sent on stanby for the entire shift and have every street/road/lane/alley covered.

    If this does happen….ORCON going to 95%….then we can kiss goodbye to all our ambulance stations.
    What a brilliant excuse to close them, as we will be out on the road the entire shift! It will also cut down on service overheads.

  6. Sue says:

    I had the joy of experiencing AMPDS last night, in that it classes catheter problems as Cat C, even though I was rolling around on the bed screaming with the pain, having taken 30mgs of Sevredol which may as well have been smarties for all the good they did. Even post op pain was nothing compared to that! Control did ring back to apologise for the delay in sending an ambulance, and one of those very nice healthcare advisor people rang too and said I certainly did need an ambulance. I felt so bad that my parents had to call 999, but the guys that came were so nice and were very sorry that it had taken them 2 hours to come out – no car to drive to the hospital (and I had no idea where it was having never used it seeing as I’m treated in central London) and a taxi was out as I couldn’t even move off the bed!

  7. […] only for us to find that the unconscious patient is the one who opens the door (see earlier blogs; here, here and here). In fact AMPDS appears so over cautious in its triaging protocols that the merest […]

  8. Daniel Guel says:

    Wow I have to say this is great. Even writing that post must have taken you a seriously long time. Thanks for your effort!

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