Matt Wilde is a motorcycle paramedic in London. Hopefully you will never meet him, but if you do you'll be in safe hands...
SO, HAVE YOU EVER USED A MOP AND BUCKET TO CLEAN A SCENE WHEN YOU GOT THERE?Yes, and a hose in the back of the ambulance. Sometimes it's like a tsunami of blood when we get to a scene. It gets everywhere. Once I ended up stood in the shower in full bike kit trying to get all the blood and shit off me. ER, BLIMEY. AND WHO CRASHES THE MOST?Stupid people. The unlucky ones. Unfortunately girls on bicycles always come off worst. They tend to stick to the rules of the road when no one else does, poor loves. INDEED. HAVE YOU EVER ATTENDED AN EMERGENCY AND REALISED YOU KNEW THE PERSON?There was a head-on between two bikes, one guy was dead. I couldn't even ID the bike he was riding, it was just a mass of twisted metal and plastic. The other guy had a broken leg, but I recognised him. I had only ever said about three words to the guy but I knew him from the pub. WE PROBABLY SHOULDN'T ASK, BUT CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORST DAY AT WORK...I once had a Sunday that involved a horrible stabbing, a fatal shooting and a woman who was run over by a bus. And the Paddington rail disaster was a crazy day. It was just so big, so massive that my tiny little brain couldn't comprehend what was going on. Walking towards a train that was sticking up in the air, smelling the burning metal and fumes and smoke. It was horrible, nothing like the movies. And working with kids has affected me enormously, kids shouldn't have social problems that put them in nasty situations. When a kid gets thrown out of a car or a window by a drugged up parent, you shouldn't have to deal with that. It's not healthy.DOESN'T SOUND IT. AND YOUR BEST DAY?It's the little things you've got to live off, I'm not looking for world peace. I'm just one man, if I can go out and get a small result then that makes me feel good. A good day for me is when no one dies and no one throws up.IS DEATH REALLY AS BAD AS WE ALL THINK IT WILL BE, OR IS IT NOT SO BAD WHEN YOU GET THERE?If someone is dead then that's it for them, their problems are over and it's on to the next thing. It's when you're alive and suffering and you know you're going to be in a wheel chair, or have massive burns or be traumatised for the rest of your life. That's actually tougher to deal with. It's the ones who live, who scrape through that are the disturbing cases. Like if a mother lives and a child dies in an accident, the kid's dead but what do you say to the mother?
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO ACCIDENT VICTIMS TO TAKE THEIR MIND OFF THEIR SITUATION?One of the most common things I ask people that are laying on the floor when I arrive on scene is,"what are you doing down there?" Usually they laugh and apologise, people are so British it never ceases to amaze me. I love that in people.WE HAVE TO ASK, HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THE STRESS OF DEALING WITH WHAT YOU SEE AT WORK?We all look out for each other by externalising the nasty bits and desensitising them. We'll openly discuss what we've seen and categorise it rather than going home and getting pissed or stoned and burying your head into a pillow and crying.WHAT'S THE WEIRDEST CALL-OUT YOU'VE EVER ATTENDED?I went to a job at a block of flats once, as I pulled up there were about 30 people out in the street. The atmosphere was very strange, electric with anger. I was directed to a car that had rammed through a railing and was embedded into the flats, and the two guys in the car looked petrified. Behind the car was a bulldozer, which had rammed the car off the road. It turns out these guys were caught trying to mug an old lady in the flats. Some builders across the road had seen the two guys forcing there way into the old lady's flat, and when the builders burst into the flat the two guys were trying to saw off her hand to get a ring that she refused to give up. The builders chased them, and they ran and jumped out of the window from three floors up. One shattered his leg completely and the other broke his ankle. The injuries were unbelievably small considering how high they jumped from. They then attempted to get away in a stolen car, but were blocked by some other builders in the bulldozer. I phoned the police and left the guys in the car to check on the old lady, she was a tough old cookie. Everything about that day was weird.HAS ANYONE EVER THOUGHT YOU WERE AN ANGEL WHEN YOU WERE ATTENDING TO THEM?Not really, but I went to this guy once who had a nasty accident, badly broken leg and was suffering. Nothing that wouldn't have healed in six months. He was crying like a baby when I got there. Anyway he grabbed me and through his blubbing screamed at me "am I gonna die? Am I gonna die?" I looked him in the eye and said "Yes mate, and I'm gonna die too." The guy went nuts and screamed "YOU'RE GONNA DIE TOO?" I said, "Yes mate, we're all gonna die. Just not today."AND FINALLY, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT THE PUBLIC DOING THIS JOB?Loads. I've seen them at their best, thinking on their feet because someone they love needs help. Sometimes the public do amazing, heroic things without hesitating for a second. But I have also seen them at their absolute worst, pumped up on some crazy drug trying to set fire to a child. It's astonishing what people are capable of in terms of love, rage and destruction. Human beings are extraordinary animals.
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