The Manchester Evening News had a frightening story yesterday about how heart surgeons operating on a patient called for emergency back-up – the ‘crash’ team so often shouted for in TV’s Casualty – only to be told they’d have to call 999 if they wanted help.
The reason? The operation was taking place at Rochdale Infirmary, which has just been stripped of various services including its accident and emergency department. As a result, the crash team has been relocated to another hospital.
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs a number of hospitals in North Manchester, said a memo had been sent around telling surgeons of the change.
Clearly, the memo didn’t get through to everyone.
The reason I mention it here is because Pennine’s defence included a piece of NHS jargon which I think deserves a place alongside West Midlands’ Ambulance Services’ infamous ‘injuries incompatable with life‘ (ie dead).
According to the M.E.N:
They say there WERE ‘advanced life savers’ on site at Rochdale trained to act in the place of the crash team.
The defence was also used when BBC North West Tonight’s chief reporter Dave Guest picked up the story and did a live two-way outside the hospital for the lunchtime news. To his credit, he kept a straight face when repeating the ‘advanced life savers’ line.
Call me old fashioned, but I’d have thought all medical staff in hospitals were advanced life savers. As nonsense phrases go, I’d like to suggest it’s right up there…