I stopped on Wednesday, as I made my way home early in the snow, to help a man who was sliding down a lamppost heading for the snowy floor. I repeatedly asked if he needed help. He was practically unconscious. A man stopped to help carry him to a safer place across the road.
I ummed and ahed about who call. He looked to have over done drugs or alcohol but I wasn’t sure how poorly he was. He also looked homeless. I knew there are safer places for anyone on the streets to go to at the moment so I took a few seconds to make my mind up. Two of my colleagues arrived and we agreed I’d call the ambulance.
While I was on the phone two lovely women appeared round the corner. One took control and clearly knew her medical stuff. Her friend said she was a nearly qualified student nurse. I was grateful for her arrival as my medical skills are zero and her kindness, knowledge, confidence and clarity were sorely needed in that moment.
I spoke to the 999 operator and she talked me and the student nurse through the situation while we waited for an ambulance. It turned up in five minutes. Two lovely positive paramedics arrived and said they would check him out in the back of the ambulance. By this time the man was coming round a little and didn’t appear to understand why the ambulance was there but he accepted help in the end.
I’m no saint. I stopped that day but on another day I may not have, rushing to pick up children or too frightened to get involved. But the student nurse was ready to help, anytime anywhere. The paramedics were brilliant and positive. These people, and all the others in the NHS are there helping people in need, whatever their circumstance, every single day.
Of course it made me sad. Sad that this very young man seemed to be on an awful path. Angry yet again that the government does next to nothing to address this crisis.
But humanity still rocks. People took time to help the young man, and to help me. People can be wonderful.
But more than anything, we really need to protect our NHS.