Our work as PTO’s was quite varied and involved transferring patients either to or from hospital or between hospitals. Some patients were post stroke victims and were wheel chair bound. It wasn’t easy loading these patients into the ambulance by ourselves but we managed most of the time. You become quite resourceful and our portable wheelchair got a lot of use!
Sometimes there would be two stretcher patients and a transit care nurse. Other times we would take a vanload of mobile and semi-mobile patients. Occasionally we would take patients to other provincial cities 1-3 hours drive away. I once even drove a patient all the way to Whakatane which was a 10.5 hours round trip.
Other jobs involved taking sick babies in incubators to the airport. This was always hard work as the incubators weighed a ton but we got to drive directly onto the tarmac beside the plane so due to my fascination with airplanes I never minded.
One time I was injured by an incubator that I had to transport from one hospital to another. I was walking in front pulling the heavy incubator with a staff nurse pushing it from behind as we travelled along the corridor of one of the main hospitals.
As we approached a corner she missed the cue and didnt slow down. Unfortunately I did and the bottom chassis rail of the incubator caught my heel as I walked in front of it. The entire weight of the incubator rode up on my heel carving a deep chunk out of it.
It hurt like hell at the time but I carried on with the job and transported the patient and escort to the next hospital.
After unloading the patient I checked my heel and found it a bloody mess. My sock was sodden with blood and a nice haematoma had formed around the chunk of lifted skin.
I ended up going to the ER where a sympathetic nurse dressed and bandaged it. I was the first (and probably only) ambulance officer ever to be run over by an incubator! It was kinda embarressing so I just carried on for the rest of the day and didnt mention it to anyone.