Episode 5 Real Rescues


Episode 5

Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the work of the emergency services. A motorway is closed as rescuers try to free a racehorse trapped in a lorry.


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Transcript


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Today, a three-year-old boy calls 999 and tells them his mummy is on the floor and can't speak to him.

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And a sight that brought a dual carriageway to a halt -

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a racehorse stuck in the front passenger seat of a van.

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If the horse had managed to get out of that cab by whatever method,

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what we didn't want is a young racehorse galloping around six lanes of traffic.

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Hello and welcome to Real Rescues.

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We're at the heart of the emergency operation

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in the South Western Ambulance control room,

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one of two in the area that takes hundreds of thousands of calls a year.

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Not just from people who live in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly,

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Devon, Dorset and Somerset, but people from all over Europe passing through on business or holiday.

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Some make 999 calls and have no idea where they are.

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We'll get more on how they find them a bit later.

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The sights that greet emergency services at major road accidents are many and varied,

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but occasionally, even they can't believe what they're seeing.

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This unusual rescue happened after a very unsuccessful day at the races.

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The 2.30 at Brighton. The horse in stall 6 is called Blue Vinney

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and his race is about to be extremely short-lived.

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'They're off and they're racing. Coming out of the stalls, Blue Vinney has unseated the rider...'

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If the sight of Blue Vinney unseating his rider wasn't bad enough,

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his team were about to get an even worse fright on the journey home.

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Yes, you CAN believe what you're seeing.

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Blue Vinney IS halfway in the driver's cab.

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What's worse, he crashed through as the vehicle was being driven along a very busy A-road.

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For the driver Pippa, her day with Blue Vinney has been fraught from the start.

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He was very unsettled all the way to the races.

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I made the lad who was with me stay in with him all the way there.

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And um, got to the races.

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I thought he'd be a bit of a naughty boy, reared up coming out of the stalls, leapt in the air.

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The jockey fell off, so he ended up running loose.

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As Blue Vinney was loaded up for the trip back, he became restless once more.

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He started thrashing again.

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All right then...

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He seemed to settle down and they continued on their way,

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but half an hour into the journey, Blue Vinney started kicking and thrashing about. Seconds later...

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Bang, crash, wallop! Over he came.

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Blue Vinney somehow leapt over this barrier, throwing his full weight against the door to the cab.

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It flung open and he was next to the driving seat.

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Pippa managed to remain calm enough to pull over.

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As she called for help, Blue Vinney was throwing himself about in the cab.

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-Hello. Police, please.

-The horse's head, shoulders and front legs were almost in the driving seat,

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his back legs in the cab's sleeping area behind.

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Horses just head for daylight. They get panicky.

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It doesn't matter what it is or where it is.

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I was just worried that he kept coming towards the windscreen.

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We tried to hold his head up above on a little shelf above the windscreen to stop him actually coming through.

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Blue Vinney is in an incredibly vulnerable position.

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Whichever way he goes, he could fall and injure his legs. That would put an end to his racing career.

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SIREN WAILS

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Pippa's 999 call was passed to West Sussex Fire Service.

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As soon as they arrive, they block out all daylight coming into the cab.

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This simple act has averted an even bigger disaster.

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He would have gone through if they hadn't turned up and put the tarpaulin over the windscreen.

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If the horse had managed to get out of that cab

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by whatever method, what we then didn't want is a young racehorse

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galloping around six lanes of traffic.

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Vet Imogen Burrows has arrived too.

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By now, Blue Vinney is calm, but that could change at any moment.

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With animal rescues and certainly with a young, lively racehorse, we want a calm situation.

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By quietening everything down, hopefully, the animal quietens itself down.

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The police have closed all six lanes of traffic,

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but it's too dangerous to try and move the horse out of the driver's seat without sedation.

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Imogen is controlling him by holding on to his head

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while her colleague Duncan Harrison makes him safe to work around.

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A horse who's full of adrenaline can be very hyper-sensitive

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to touch, to light.

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And when they are hyper-sensitive, any of those stimuli can result in a panic

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which means that you have a horse of 350, 400 kilos

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who is basically out of control in a very confined area.

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That can result in injury to anybody who's in that area next to them.

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The precision of the vets is vital.

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The amount of sedation has to be exact. If it's too much,

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he'll become unconscious and impossible to move.

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Too little and the safety of the firefighters and a packed dual carriageway is at risk.

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So how on earth do you get a horse out of that situation? Later, we will find out. Nick?

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How extraordinary those pictures were!

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Now, these people here take calls from emergencies all the time.

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-I want to talk to Erika here. Are you on a call?

-No.

-Lovely. I can have a chat.

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-Not everyone who calls up is polite, are they?

-No, definitely not.

-Because? Why?

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One day I took a call from a gentleman who, from the minute we had his phone number,

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thought it was all right to swear at me down the phone.

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His wife had collapsed in his pub,

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so I took his phone number and went to get his address.

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Then we have to repeat it to make sure we've got the right details,

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but he didn't know the ambulance was on the way from the minute we took the phone number.

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-People think, "Why are you asking me stupid questions?"

-Yeah, so he was getting irate.

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We have to understand they are in a panic. His wife had collapsed on the floor and he didn't know what to do.

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All the time he's swearing at me, it's not giving me enough time to help him out with his wife.

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-If he's busy arguing with you, you're not getting anywhere.

-You're wasting time.

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Did you explain that? You strike me as someone who's not backwards in coming forwards.

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-You asked him to calm down?

-Yeah, I asked him politely to calm down and he did listen.

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He did as much as he could to help his wife.

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At the end of the call, once the crew had arrived, he apologised to me

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and invited me round for dinner at his pub if ever I was passing.

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-Aw! That's nice.

-I know.

-Did it make up for the swearing?

-Yeah, it was OK.

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-I understood he was in a panic.

-Have you ever taken him up on the offer?

-I didn't, no.

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-Have you not? That's a free meal going there.

-Well, perhaps I'll go back now.

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-Whatever pub you go in now, they'll be going, "I wonder if that was the landlord?"

-Yeah.

-Thank you.

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Be nice to these people!

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When we see an ambulance racing to hospital with its blue lights on,

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we have no idea what's going on inside.

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The crews are not just carrying patients. They often end up giving them active treatment as well.

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Paramedics Sarah MacDonald and technician Nicky Robbins are heading to a lay-by just off the M4.

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A driver has pulled over with a sick passenger.

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A 31-year-old man was being driven back home to Wales by his dad

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when he started suffering epileptic seizures.

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Sarah and Nicky park up in the lay-by just in front of their patient.

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Tommy, let's get you on board. You're really hot, aren't you?

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Do you feel well enough to walk to the ambulance? Yeah?

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-All right?

-Yeah.

-You are absolutely boiling.

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-Oh, sorry.

-OK?

-He was sick at the services as well.

-All right.

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He was holding himself tight, you know?

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-Sorry.

-No, you're all right. Are you OK to walk?

-Yeah.

-Sure?

-Yeah.

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Tommy suffers from seizures about once every 12 months.

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They were triggered after he fractured his skull in an accident a few years ago.

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-Is that your back?

-Yeah.

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The strain on his body from this latest episode has taken its toll.

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He looks worn out and has severe pain in his back.

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Are you aware when your seizures are going to happen or do they come out of the blue?

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Pop that on your finger for me.

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Have you taken medication this morning?

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-Epilim.

-And you took it this morning?

-Yeah.

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-So everything's been as you would normally, but whilst travelling, you've had two seizures?

-Yeah.

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Sarah and Nicky want to check Tommy's vital signs.

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As well as the pain, he's also been sick when they stopped at a service station

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and it's unusual for him to have seizures in such quick succession.

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-Right, attacking from both angles, OK?

-Are you ready?

-Yeah.

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Your arm's going to get tight.

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Are you under any stress? Undo your legs for me. ..No?

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-He runs a pub, so he's probably under less stress the past couple of days than normal.

-Yeah.

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It's been quite a shock for Tommy's dad Chris as well.

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They were on their way back to South Wales after visiting relatives.

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He's never witnessed Tommy's seizures first-hand before.

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When he was actually having his seizures, was it full-on or was it just shaking...?

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-Slightly shaking.

-Slightly shaking.

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The first one was quite violent. The last one was...

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-I don't know, a third as bad.

-How long did they last for? Do you remember?

-Just roughly.

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A couple of minutes. And the last one was probably a minute, if that.

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-Did he go blue at all?

-He did go a bit, yeah.

-Try and slow that breathing down.

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Tommy's tests are clear, apart from his oxygen level which is a bit low. However, he's feeling unwell again.

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There's too many things that aren't quite right, so we need to take you into hospital, get you checked over.

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From here, you go to Swindon. It's the next junction along and you'll see it from Junction 15.

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Chris is going to follow in his car, but as he is about to leave,

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he hears Tommy groaning in the ambulance. Things have taken a turn for the worse.

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We're just keeping you on your side, Tommy, OK?

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GROANING

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No, let's sit him up. He's just trying to get comfortable, isn't he?

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He's suffering another string of short seizures.

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One after another, they take hold. There's nothing they can do, but get him safely to hospital.

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Tommy, how are you feeling?

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You've had another few fits. We're going to take you to hospital.

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With Nicky driving, the ambulance sets off along the motorway.

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Chris follows in his car.

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Sarah is in the back of the ambulance, making sure Tommy stays safe on the trolley.

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She's also phoning ahead to the hospital, but Tommy remains her first priority.

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SHE GIVES OBSERVATIONS OVER PHONE

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GCS...12.

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Don't stretch it, my darling. That's it, straight down.

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Sarah gives oxygen and a mild tranquilliser to help keep him calm.

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OK? You've had lots of fits.

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We've given you some diazepam and we're taking you to hospital.

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Try and relax. We'll be there soon.

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You're doing really well, Tommy.

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Tommy, exhausted by the convulsions, is sleeping peacefully as they arrive at the hospital.

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I was a bit frantic then. We were worried that he could have had another fit

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and sure enough, he had about four or five more just now.

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It was almost a condition called status epilepticus which is when you fit all the time,

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but the diazepam seems to have done the job and he's stopped fitting and is sleeping quite soundly.

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-Let's get him a bit more comfortable to go straight into Resus.

-OK.

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Look, Tommy, what a nice day!

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Can you open your eyes? Yeah, marvellous.

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Tommy can be reunited with his dad

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before being checked over by the doctors to see what's happening with his epilepsy.

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-Sarah was one of the paramedics helping Tommy. Poor Tommy, he was having a tough time.

-Very tough.

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It started off quite tranquil and calm. Were you caught off guard by his fits?

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Yeah, we were. We're always prepared

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for somebody who's already had an epileptic fit to have a further fit,

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but we were quite occupied with the back pain that was presenting,

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so as we dealt with that, the new fit caught us completely unawares.

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It was quite difficult for you, cos he's about twice the size of you, to keep him under control.

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A lot of effort to keep him safe.

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And we can see you here. You're on the phone as well as trying to look after him.

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-How important is this call?

-It was very important.

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We were trying to let the hospital know that we had a continuous fitter on board.

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We need the doctors ready to give him any further diazepam he might need,

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so I was trying to communicate all the obs I've done and keep Tommy calm and stop him hurting himself.

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-It was a bit like a wrestling match.

-Yeah.

-You called it "status epileptus"?

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-Yeah, status epilepticus.

-What does that mean?

-It's a fitting disorder

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when somebody has continuous fits with no longer breaks than five minutes apart.

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Tommy was doing that because he had about five in the back with a minute break in between,

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so he must have been exhausted.

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What's striking, watching you trying to hold him down, is how physical your job is.

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Yeah, it's a lot harder sometimes. Usually, it's not like that,

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but when you're doing everything you can to stop somebody hurting themselves on the defibrillator

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-and to keep them calm, it's very strenuous.

-And at the same time, the ambulance is going pretty fast?

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Yeah. We were on the motorway, so no sharp bends and only one or two roundabouts,

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-which Nicky let me know about.

-You knew those were coming up, so you could hold him down?

-Yeah.

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-How's Tommy doing? He hadn't had those before.

-He'd only had one fit on one day before

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and his last fit was quite a while ago, so for him to have seven or eight is very unusual.

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-And worrying as well.

-Yeah.

-Thank you. Tommy was checked over and all those tests came back as normal.

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He was allowed to go home that afternoon and he hasn't had multiple fits since.

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His dad put the seizures down to the stress of a very long journey. Nick?

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Earlier on, I was mentioning to you the number of people

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who can come through the area controlled by this control room...

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17 and a half million people extra come into the area controlled by these people here

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in terms of allocating ambulances and so on. It's a lot. And a lot of people don't know where they are.

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-We'll have a chat to Kev Leake who's a dispatcher, if he's not on a call.

-No, I'm OK at the moment.

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About people who ring up, who are in difficulty, but don't know where they are.

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-No, it's quite common.

-Really?

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Yeah, I had a call not long after I first started.

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It was a gentleman who was on the Isle of Wight.

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He went for a walk in his garden, fell down a cliff,

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landed on a grass ledge and managed to call from a mobile.

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He's on the mobile. He knows he's fallen off a back garden somewhere,

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-but as he's on holiday, he's not sure where?

-He hasn't got a clue.

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-All he could tell me is he was in the Yarmouth area, there was a post office...

-Let's look at the map.

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At this point, Kev goes in to do some detective work. So he says...?

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OK, in the Yarmouth area, so I'm scrolling round to find the Yarmouth area.

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He's telling me little scraps of information.

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He tells me there's a post office, a church, police station, etcetera,

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so I'm pretty confident he's talking about this area here.

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Then he says, "It's up from there," so I'm looking up.

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He says he can see a beach in the daytime, so I look up and all I can see...

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This is the first set of cliffs you come across.

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And you're looking then for houses that back on to the cliffs.

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-On your other map, you can see them marked, those squares there?

-Yeah.

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This is the first cliff you come across, these are the first houses what back on to the cliff,

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so then I'm looking in this area.

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Every time he mentions something, I'm searching the map, looking.

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-And he said during the day he looked out from the back garden and could see...

-He could see across here.

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-He was describing viewpoints what matched up with this place.

-So you dispatch people there and...

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My colleagues contacted the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service who search the area,

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listening to the call at the same time.

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The RNLI were dispatched as well as Coastguard...

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The other thing I wanted to ask... This is great that you do this and very exciting that you can do this.

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-Can't they triangulate mobile phones so they can find them?

-They can do. It takes a long time, though.

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If we get a call from a mobile, sometimes we can pinpoint it to a certain area.

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-It's a wide area.

-But it's only useful if they're on a main road in the middle of fields.

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Then you know they're on that road somewhere. It narrows it down to a stretch of road.

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The police can do more accurate triangulation, but it's a long process.

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-So these guys do their own detective work. Thank you.

-No problem.

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The 999 team never know what to expect when they pick up the phone and answer an emergency call.

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This rescue has it all. It starts when a young boy calls 999

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to let them know that his mum has collapsed.

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Oh, goodness! The call taker we heard there is Debbie.

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You've got a three-year-old on the phone and you hear there's a one-year-old. How was it going?

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You just worry. You've two children there that are not being supervised.

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Mum's unwell, so you're thinking you need to help them straight away,

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-keep him on the phone.

-One of the key things that he had managed to do

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was call on a landline because that gave you a key piece of information.

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Absolutely. If he comes on the landline, the address comes straight up on my screen.

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-We know we can get to him quickly, hopefully.

-Did you feel the pressure

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when you knew that three people's lives were resting in your hands?

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Yeah, it was just keep him on the phone,

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making sure that we could hear everything that's going on before we get there and help as best we can.

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You've got children yourself. Did that help you with the conversation?

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Yeah, I have a little boy, so keeping him entertained, chatting all the time

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definitely helped me relate to him a lot more.

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And as the conversation's going on, you know that Mum is unconscious.

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It's vital that Debbie gets accurate information from Harvey and that he stays on the phone.

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-That was a worrying moment.

-"Bye!"

-He thinks he's done his job, doesn't he, at that point?

-Yeah.

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-So how did you manage to keep him on the phone?

-We talked about what he'd got for Christmas

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and managed to keep him on there. And asking him about his sister and his mum and what she did before.

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The sister was tiny. Where was she?

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She was in the kitchen with him.

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-I tried to find out what she was doing, but we were concerned about Mum.

-It's heart stopping.

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Presumably your imagination is running riot or do you keep nice and calm?

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You have to, for the little boy. You've got to keep reassuring him

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that everything will be fine.

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And tell us, he needed to open the door, didn't he, for the crew? How did you persuade him to do that?

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Well, the crew had organised him from the other side to get the key.

0:23:080:23:13

He said to me they were going out, so the keys might have been in the handbag.

0:23:130:23:19

You're constantly thinking of the next step to get us in.

0:23:190:23:23

And it's not over yet. You managed to keep Harvey playing to his strengths.

0:23:230:23:29

Harvey, well done. Here he is. How amazing, listening to that call. And very emotional for you.

0:24:230:24:30

-Yeah.

-What was going on? You'd collapsed?

-I'd been in the kitchen,

0:24:300:24:35

doing my washing. Harvey asked for a drink.

0:24:350:24:39

I told him I didn't feel so good and then I collapsed on the floor.

0:24:390:24:44

-Harvey picked the house phone up and dialled 999.

-Harvey, what number did you dial?

0:24:440:24:50

We know you dialled 999! Do you know what he asked for?

0:24:520:24:56

-He asked for an ambulance.

-And how did he know how to do that?

0:24:560:25:00

We'd told him previously what to do.

0:25:000:25:02

-It happened previously and we told him what to do if my husband was at work.

-Right.

-And he'd listened.

0:25:020:25:08

OK, so what happened when you came round? Did you realise he'd called?

0:25:080:25:13

No, I didn't realise at first.

0:25:130:25:16

When I came around, paramedics were bringing me around.

0:25:160:25:20

I didn't know what was going on.

0:25:200:25:22

What about your little daughter? He's gone all shy!

0:25:220:25:27

-You're not really that shy. How loud did you shout, "Mummy!"? Can you give us a shout?

-No.

-No.

0:25:270:25:33

He's gone all shy, hasn't he? But potentially this was a life-threatening situation.

0:25:330:25:39

-And he saved you from it.

-Yeah.

0:25:390:25:41

If he hadn't called 999, I don't know how long I would have been lying there for. My husband was working.

0:25:410:25:48

And you're a mum as well. Really difficult to hear that on the phone.

0:25:480:25:52

-I know you guys have met before, but what's it like to see him?

-It's lovely. I've had flowers.

0:25:520:25:59

It's really nice to put the face behind the words you're hearing.

0:25:590:26:04

And obviously he's a very brave boy.

0:26:040:26:06

What caused the collapse? Oh, go on. What do you want to tell me?

0:26:060:26:11

-What caused it? Do you know?

-No, we don't know yet.

0:26:110:26:15

I've had tests on my brain and my heart, but I'm still waiting for further tests.

0:26:150:26:21

Do you realise you're a very brave boy, Harvey? You are. Well done.

0:26:210:26:26

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

0:26:260:26:29

Aww, Harvey going all shy there. He wasn't shy on the telephone, was he? Still to come...

0:26:300:26:36

How do you get a horse out of here?

0:26:360:26:39

Firefighters use specialist cutting equipment just inches from it.

0:26:390:26:43

Don't drink and drive is good advice. So is don't drink and climb trees.

0:26:430:26:49

Don't move, don't move.

0:26:490:26:52

Ask him how bad his pain is. MAN TRANSLATES

0:26:530:26:57

Don't move your head. Keep your head still. Don't move.

0:26:570:27:01

Now if you suffer epileptic fits like Tommy did in the ambulance, or if you collapse like Harvey's mum,

0:27:030:27:10

there's a new idea that can aid the first paramedics on the scene and potentially save lives.

0:27:100:27:16

Like so many great ideas, it's simple, but effective. This is the message in a bottle.

0:27:160:27:21

Here to chat to us about it is Andy Capes. Andy, what is the message in a bottle?

0:27:210:27:27

It's simply a plastic container that goes into the patient's fridge.

0:27:270:27:32

-And inside is all their personal details.

-Right.

0:27:320:27:36

What they suffer from, medication they're on, next of kin details.

0:27:360:27:40

-And any allergies...

-That's right. It's the best thing we can rely on.

0:27:400:27:45

We know it's in the fridge because they have these two green stickers.

0:27:450:27:50

One at the front door, one on the fridge. And we go straight there.

0:27:500:27:55

-So this is getting quite popular?

-Very much so.

0:27:550:27:59

On average, I use it 2-3 times a week and if the patient is unconscious, they can't talk,

0:27:590:28:05

we can look at the information and find out what's wrong. Saves time.

0:28:050:28:09

-Two or three times a week? Give us an example.

-Last week I had a patient on the floor.

0:28:090:28:15

They suffered from diabetes, was in a coma. I was quickly able to diagnose, as part of our checks,

0:28:150:28:21

that they suffered from diabetes and administer the right medication.

0:28:210:28:26

I was worried about how do you know it's the right person when you go in. What if there's somebody else

0:28:260:28:32

-and it's not their house...?

-It's a fair comment. Touch wood, it's never happened yet,

0:28:320:28:38

but there's even a simple thing there for the patient to put a photograph

0:28:380:28:42

-so we know the paperwork goes to the patient.

-Louise had a good idea.

0:28:420:28:47

She said why not do this in cars, in glove compartments of cars?

0:28:470:28:51

-So if you're in a car accident...

-They could do, but if someone steals the car,

0:28:510:28:57

-people have all their personal information in that car.

-Ah.

-Bit of a two-way thing there.

0:28:570:29:03

-I thought it was a good idea, but it's not.

-No.

-That's fascinating.

0:29:030:29:07

Thanks very much for chatting about it. Louise, it's not a good idea.

0:29:070:29:12

What a shame! I thought for once I'd had a good idea!

0:29:120:29:16

Now back to that trapped race horse stuck on the passenger seat of a horsebox. It panicked,

0:29:160:29:22

and has forced its way through from the back. It now takes a patient operation to release it.

0:29:220:29:28

A more secure horsebox has arrived on the scene. It's essential they have somewhere to put Blue Vinney

0:29:320:29:38

before they start work getting him out. Every part of the rescue has to be carefully thought out.

0:29:380:29:44

There was no option to use the driver or passenger door.

0:29:440:29:48

The next door possibly available was the side groom door,

0:29:480:29:52

but that would've meant a jump down, so that wasn't for recommendation.

0:29:520:29:56

So the only real option was to put the horse back where it came from.

0:29:560:30:01

That meant cutting away aspects of the horsebox.

0:30:010:30:05

The horse is now sedated, but it's still a potentially volatile situation.

0:30:070:30:14

The firefighters have to use their most powerful hydraulic cutters to cut away the partition wall

0:30:140:30:20

and, even with sedation, the noise could startle him again and make it worse.

0:30:200:30:25

So far, so good.

0:30:250:30:27

The first wall is removed, but a second has to be cut away, only inches from the horse.

0:30:270:30:34

Vet Imogen is holding his head, but he's agitated by the work going on around him.

0:30:340:30:41

Even with a sedated animal, with a highly-strung horse,

0:30:410:30:45

any stimulus can take that horse out of his sedated state.

0:30:450:30:49

So noise, even the cracking of metal as we cut it, the vibrations caused by the saw

0:30:490:30:57

could all stimulate the horse.

0:30:570:30:59

Anyone who isn't absolutely essential to the operation is moved out of the hot or danger zone

0:30:590:31:05

before they attempt to move Blue Vinney.

0:31:050:31:08

When we were just about to extract Blue Vinney, going backwards,

0:31:080:31:13

we had to use a lot of cutting equipment next to his hind legs.

0:31:130:31:18

That could have caused two things - he could have injured himself because of the equipment

0:31:180:31:24

and it put the fire crew in danger next to his hind legs, crouching.

0:31:240:31:28

So at that point I stabilised him by pushing his hind quarters against the far wall.

0:31:280:31:34

That moved him away a little bit and also provided some comfort in that he felt safe, not slipping.

0:31:340:31:40

The wall to the cab is out. They've managed to bring his head round

0:31:410:31:46

and Blue Vinney is now free to be walked out of the horsebox.

0:31:460:31:51

St John keeps him as calm as possible. He's a little unsteady,

0:31:510:31:55

but that's the effect of sedation rather than any other injury.

0:31:550:32:00

They need to get him into the second horsebox, but first he's allowed a little time outside on the grass.

0:32:010:32:08

The horse was very, very lucky.

0:32:100:32:12

He had no injuries, apart from a few very superficial scrapes.

0:32:120:32:17

He got away with it Scott free.

0:32:170:32:20

Well, I was relieved,

0:32:200:32:23

but I couldn't believe he only had a few marks and scratches on him.

0:32:230:32:27

You'd imagine he'd be mutilated or have to be put down.

0:32:270:32:33

To everyone's surprise, he puts up no fight about the new horsebox.

0:32:330:32:37

He'll be taken to local stables for some TLC until his transport home can be arranged.

0:32:370:32:43

Blue Vinney and Pippa have had a lucky escape, not to mention the other drivers on that busy road.

0:32:430:32:49

It could have been fatal to all the other people on the road.

0:32:490:32:53

If I hadn't been able to pull over, I could have got a knock on the head, crashed the lorry,

0:32:530:32:59

caused numerous other accidents.

0:32:590:33:02

Fantastic result. The horse came out, essentially uninjured. A couple of minor scrapes and scuffs.

0:33:020:33:09

If he had managed to get out on a Friday afternoon onto six lanes, it could be a different picture.

0:33:090:33:16

The trauma of the day has left the owners reluctant to put Blue Vinney through anything like this again.

0:33:170:33:23

If he'd been a bit better in his races and shown he'd be a half-decent racehorse,

0:33:230:33:29

maybe we would have persevered, but he was...

0:33:290:33:33

He wasn't in the right frame of mind to be a racehorse, I think.

0:33:330:33:37

The life of a racehorse with its constant travelling isn't one he'll ever be able to cope with.

0:33:370:33:43

He'll now be found a loving new home where he can take life at a gentler pace.

0:33:430:33:49

The horse escaped with minor grazes.

0:33:500:33:53

-The lorry didn't fare quite as well. Louise.

-I got it, I got it.

0:33:540:33:58

Lots of the calls that come here are women about to give birth.

0:33:580:34:02

-Erica's a friend of the programme. Take us back to your first call, your first 999 call.

-Yeah.

0:34:020:34:10

-What happened? Take us through it.

-Well, 6am, busy shift, want to go home.

0:34:100:34:15

A fella rings up cos his wife's in labour so we took the call and went through the motions.

0:34:150:34:22

His wife delivered the baby on the kitchen floor.

0:34:220:34:25

I went home and went to bed. When I got up, I had phone calls. It was on the front page of the Echo.

0:34:250:34:31

-OK.

-Which is lovely, but it's what we do for a job.

0:34:310:34:36

-But he'd also rung in to see if he could meet me as well, bring his wife and the baby.

-Right.

0:34:360:34:42

-Which is nice.

-Oh, yeah.

0:34:420:34:45

-Often you don't hear what happens.

-Yeah, I know.

0:34:450:34:49

It's lovely to meet them and the baby. So it was arranged

0:34:490:34:53

and they came in one day with their other little boy.

0:34:530:34:57

As I walked through the door, I recognised the dad. He was an old boyfriend!

0:34:570:35:03

So we had a cuddle with the baby.

0:35:040:35:07

-A semi-awkward situation, really.

-Yeah.

0:35:070:35:10

So how did you approach that? "Hello. Do you remember me?"

0:35:100:35:14

No, when he walked through the door he realised...

0:35:140:35:18

Oh, I'm cringing for you!

0:35:180:35:20

-But we just got on with it.

-OK. Did they name the baby after you?

0:35:200:35:25

-No, it was a boy.

-Fair enough. Could have been Eric!

0:35:250:35:29

What's it like? Do you often know what happens to people?

0:35:300:35:34

They go to hospital. It's quite a difficult thing.

0:35:340:35:38

We seem to deliver a lot of babies on the phone. When we know it's a baby, we all listen in

0:35:380:35:44

and we like to know what they've had. There's always a cheer when the baby's born and we hear it cry.

0:35:440:35:50

-Lovely. Erica, thanks very much.

-That's OK.

0:35:500:35:54

Fantastic! Erica's life is like a soap opera! Her son's involved in crashes and ringing in...

0:35:540:36:01

All the things going on. Ex-boyfriend, eh?

0:36:010:36:04

It's astonishing what people will do when they've had a drink.

0:36:040:36:08

All of a sudden, inhibitions are gone. They think they're Superman.

0:36:080:36:12

The fast response car is heading to a park in the city centre.

0:36:220:36:27

A man is badly hurt after falling out of a tree.

0:36:270:36:31

Onboard is emergency care practitioner Mark Ainsworth-Smith.

0:36:310:36:35

Are they waving us over there?

0:36:350:36:38

Hello.

0:36:430:36:44

The injured man is lying in the bandstand, quite a way from any trees. He may have walked there,

0:36:440:36:50

which could have made any serious injuries worse.

0:36:500:36:54

Hello, sir. Do you mind putting the cigarette away while we check him over? OK?

0:36:540:37:00

Which tree did you fall out of? MAN TRANSLATES

0:37:000:37:03

-Keep his neck still.

-There's an added complication. The injured man, Darius, is Polish.

0:37:030:37:09

Luckily, his friend Paul is on hand to translate.

0:37:090:37:13

-Do you know which tree he fell out of?

-Yeah, it was one of these.

-Over there?

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:37:130:37:20

It's painstaking work getting the basic details.

0:37:200:37:25

-Mark thinks he fell from the lowest branch of this tree - a significant fall.

-How high up was he?

0:37:250:37:31

- I think the second floor. - Really? A significant fall.

0:37:310:37:35

Darius can't bear to put his right leg on the ground. Mark sees why -

0:37:350:37:40

the ankle is horribly deformed and swelling very quickly.

0:37:400:37:44

Could you ask him how bad his pain is? PAUL TRANSLATES

0:37:440:37:50

-Really sore.

-If 10 out of 10 is the worst...?

0:37:500:37:54

-OK.

-He can't move his leg.

-He's definitely broken it. You can see how swollen it is.

0:37:550:38:01

Mark is very worried about more serious and hidden injuries.

0:38:010:38:06

We don't know what other injuries he's got. I'll put him on oxygen.

0:38:060:38:11

Don't move your head. Keep your head still. Don't move.

0:38:110:38:15

The accident has happened after an afternoon's drinking in the park.

0:38:150:38:20

I can smell it quite strongly. Thank you.

0:38:200:38:24

By now, an ambulance has arrived. Mark needs to know what and how much he's had to drink.

0:38:240:38:30

How much alcohol has he had?

0:38:300:38:33

About...

0:38:330:38:34

-It's difficult to tell you how much.

-Just a rough idea.

0:38:340:38:38

In case he goes sleepy. We don't know if it's because he banged his head or because of alcohol.

0:38:380:38:44

Don't move, don't move.

0:38:440:38:47

Don't move your neck, sir.

0:38:470:38:49

Just for safety, could you come and hold his head? He's moving it.

0:38:490:38:54

Just come to the top of him. Don't move, please. Nice and still.

0:38:540:38:59

But his friends can't tell him how much Darius has had to drink.

0:38:590:39:04

He's landed directly on his right ankle. No, just put your head down.

0:39:040:39:08

Put your head down, sir. Any pain in your tummy? PAUL TRANSLATES

0:39:080:39:14

-No...

-Just his ankle.

-In the back.

-He's got pain in his back. OK.

0:39:160:39:20

What we're doing is scooping him off the floor. Just relax here.

0:39:200:39:24

We're going to pop a little needle in his arm to give him some morphine. It's a very good painkiller.

0:39:240:39:30

He's clearly fractured his ankle. He's also got pain in his back.

0:39:300:39:35

We really need to get on top of his pain. It'll make it much easier to move him into the ambulance.

0:39:350:39:41

The ankle may be the most obvious injury, but might not be the worst.

0:39:420:39:47

Injuries to the lower spine or lumbar area are quite common after a fall from a height.

0:39:470:39:53

His friend describes what happened and it worries Mark more.

0:39:530:39:57

So if we say he's fallen about six metres, would you say?

0:39:570:40:01

-I'll show you.

-Don't climb it!

-This one here.

0:40:010:40:06

-Yeah.

-He says he'll do it.

0:40:060:40:09

-OK.

-He's just hanging and jumping.

-OK.

-He came down and broke his leg.

0:40:090:40:14

With such a serious break, the leg has to be kept perfectly still on the journey to hospital.

0:40:140:40:20

Very carefully, it's encased in a splint to hold the ankle rigid.

0:40:200:40:25

By supporting the ankle like this, it makes it a lot easier.

0:40:250:40:29

We'll have to roll him onto a special scoop in case of a spinal injury,

0:40:290:40:33

so now it's immobilised it will make a lot less discomfort.

0:40:330:40:38

So it's the best thing to do at the moment.

0:40:380:40:42

Darius is now ready for hospital. As the ambulance heads off, Mark phones in all his details.

0:40:420:40:49

It will all save valuable time at Accident and Emergency.

0:40:490:40:54

It's a 25-year-old male that's fallen from 25 feet approximately out of a tree in Palmerston Park.

0:40:540:41:00

He's got a fracture of his right ankle, also probably a lumbar spine fracture. He has tenderness there.

0:41:000:41:06

Appears to have no neurology. Good sensation in his legs and has had good range of movement.

0:41:060:41:12

And ETA to you is, realistically, probably about 7 minutes from here.

0:41:120:41:16

OK? Thanks very much, then.

0:41:180:41:20

Darius fractured his back and had steel pins inserted into his leg.

0:41:230:41:27

He's now making a good recovery. Thank goodness.

0:41:270:41:31

-Now the chat we were having earlier about these. What are they?

-It's a Message In A Bottle.

0:41:310:41:38

They can be obtained from chemists, doctors' surgeries and even some local police stations.

0:41:380:41:44

So if you want one in your fridge so if you collapse, paramedics can learn all about you,

0:41:440:41:50

or you want to stick one in your glove box, then go and get one.

0:41:500:41:55

Thank you very much.

0:41:550:41:57

-Louise is still chatting to Erica!

-She's telling us about her son.

0:41:570:42:01

-He's been in Afghanistan?

-Yeah.

-Hang on. What happened to him in Afghanistan?

0:42:010:42:08

-He was driving a Viking and hit an IED.

-And he's OK now?

0:42:080:42:12

-Yeah, he was injured, but not badly.

-He came back and had a crash...?

0:42:120:42:17

And then there's more, there's more. What was after the RTA?

0:42:170:42:21

He slipped on the ice and dislocated his shoulder.

0:42:210:42:25

-And then?

-He nearly chopped his finger off two months ago!

-Answers to the name of Lucky!

0:42:250:42:32

More every day! We'll have more extraordinary stories from Erica...

0:42:330:42:37

-if you're prepared to join us next time for more Real Rescues.

-Bye-bye.

-Take care.

0:42:370:42:44

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee media Ltd - 2011

0:42:570:43:01

Email [email protected]

0:43:020:43:04

Going behind-the-scenes at one of Britain's biggest ambulance control centres, Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the day-to-day work of the emergency services.

A motorway is closed as rescuers try to free a racehorse trapped in the front seat of a lorry, and a three-year-old calls 999 to save his mum.


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