Weekends in A&E – the Referee

Being a single mum to two girls and having no support from my ex it was down to me to support the three of us. I worked Monday to Friday in a Doctors Surgery and Weekends for the GP Out Of Hours Service. This is the emergency cover that your Doctors Surgery gives evenings and weekends when they are closed.


I worked a couple of shifts over the weekend and usually one evening in the week  – and on occasions more if there were other receptionists away sick or on holiday.


I worked alongside the duty Doctor on Call. Although we worked for the Out of Hours service we were based in the local A&E Department.


I enjoyed this role so much – I worked with some lovely Doctors – who were more laid back doing these shifts than they would be working in their normal surgeries.


I also worked with some lovely people who worked extremely hard in the A&E department. I have and always will respect these people for the work that they do. I worked very closely with the A&E Receptionists and was accepted as part of their team. I was honoured to be included in all their social events.


In the earlier days the Out Of Hours service was quiet – so I would often help the girls out on the A&E reception desk. I would help file, make the tea and help patients if they needed anything.


The “emergencies” came through another section of the department so we actually only dealt with the “walking” wounded. I cannot tell you what I seen and learnt during those years I was there. It certainly opened my eyes to how some people live their lives.


I will bring you different stories from my days in A&E from time to time – some funny and some sad, but I will respect the patients that came in – I will not identify anyone or use any names. These stories are true but unidentifiable.


Working with the Doctor we really only seen minor illnesses – some we did refer on to the hospital but mainly they were just routine coughs and colds. But working in the reception area I witnessed some of the more critical cases that came in. One that comes to mind…………………


It was a Sunday morning. The waiting room was full of the usual sporting injuries. Footballers, rugby, even golfers!!!


The ambulance brought in by blue light a referee from a local Sunday League football match. He was taken straight into Resuscitation – but sadly he didn’t make it.


It was awful – your thoughts go out to his family – who are yet to find out and also his colleagues that were with him when it happened. But what was really sad was that no one at the match knew anything about CPR – or if they did no one tried it on him.  Had they have done – perhaps…………………. well we would never know.


The referee came in with just his kit on with his coat over the top of him – he had a member of the football team with him but was not a relative. The nursing staff had the awful job of phoning his wife. The staff member took his phone out of his jacket and went into a private room to phone. A job that everyone admits is the worse part of their job.


About 30 minutes later a distraught woman comes in – she comes to the desk and says that she is the wife of the referee that had been brought in. Everyone’s heart went out to her.  Little did she know this morning what this day was going to bring.


The Nursing staff came out and brought her through. Minutes later another member of the Nursing Staff came out – she wasn’t the wife of the dead man. This poor woman had gone in to see “her husband” only to find it was a complete stranger.  She must have been filled with horror and relief at the same time. I can’t begin to think what she must have gone through.


We finally got to find out what had happened………………..the referee had collapsed on the pitch and while they were waiting on the ambulance to arrive someone from the sideline had taken his coat off and placed it over the referee to keep in warm. In the panic to get him to hospital quickly the jacket was taken with him in the ambulance.


What an awful error – this poor man was lying there – and no identity – but it only took minutes for them to find out his true identity and the Nursing Staff then had to make a second call – this time to the right person.  It was a lesson to us all – never take anything for granted.


And please remember just how important CPR can be. A life saver!