We often hear bad stories about A&E services, especially at this time of the year. I have good story to tell and I’d like to share it because of the great help I was given by West Midlands Ambulance and Hereford County Hospital’s emergency team. It is story that begins with a moment of folly and involves an afternoon without trousers. There is also a lot of blood.

Mel the Collie had taken me on a walk around the Eco Park. We dropped by the Foldgate Co-op on the way back to pick up a couple of instant meals and a bottle of Pinot Grigiot to open tonight.[i]

As we crossed Parys Road, Mel turned unexpectedly to look at passing dog. I wasn’t concentrating and flipped over the top of her, my left leg crushing down on the bag of shopping. I got up very quickly and assured passers-by I was OK.

A little further on, I realised that red wine was pouring from my shopping bag. I cursed under my breath. It was a few moments later, that it clicked. Pinot Grigiot is a white wine. The red liquid slopping around was my blood.

Oddly, I walked the few hundred yards home. I was thinking I would go straight to Ludlow’s minor injury unit. Once home and sans trousers, I found that blood was not just leaking out of my leg but spurting. I applied pressure and rang 999.

From then on, everything was excellent. There was also a lot of laughter. I was given good advice by the 999 service. Paramedics were dispatched from Hereford as the Ludlow paramedic was on a call. My great neighbour, Bert Wells, came around to help me.

I guess it was twenty minutes before the paramedics from West Midlands Ambulance got here. Gary and James were a great team. They talked me through what they were doing and told me the results of the tests. Then I was driven down to Hereford in their ambulance.

Gary kept a close eye on me. There were some anomalous readings. When he was not checking by blood pressure, sugars and heart rate, we talked of drinking in Ludlow. I suspect he may be back soon to quaff a few ales.

At Hereford, there was a queue to be admitted. Beds were short but the whole atmosphere was calm, relaxed and professional. I guess I had a bit of luck. I started spurting blood from my leg again and a consultant quickly switched me into the minor injuries unit.

I’d arrived in A&E without trousers but thanks to Bert Wells my neighbour, I had a mobile phone packed, along with medication and a radio.

There was lots of laughter throughout the hospital as I told of the way I failed to leap over a sheepdog and instead crashed down on a bottle of Pinot Grigiot. It struck me that everyone in the hospital smiled, even though the pressure on them was obvious.

I was taken to x-ray to check if I still had slivers of wine bottle in my leg. Everything was fine. All I had was a large gash that had severed an arterial vessel. I was expertly sewn up, given more checks and Bert arrived to drive me home.

This was not a major injury and of course one that arises from a folly on my part.

I want to take my hat off to the West Midlands Ambulance service and Hereford County Hospital. I had excellent service throughout.

But I didn’t take my hat off.

I arrived in A&E without trousers but I was wearing a hat. Even in x-ray, I did hadn’t have any trousers but I kept my hat firmly in place.[ii] I got through the whole A&E process with my hat firmly stuck to my head.

I now raise my hat to everyone who helped me today. Thank you.


[i]. Mel is teetotal. She doesn’t even drink beer.

[ii]. The hat was a newsboy.

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