Dubai: Every day is an adventure for Dubai paramedics, who are sometimes confronted by the most unusual of circumstances.
From the routine to the bizarre, paramedics of the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) never know what kind of situations await them when responding to approximately 500 emergency calls a day.
People dialling 999 to request an ambulance for an aching tooth, or a sick pet, are just a few of the unwarranted calls that these paramedics prefer not to start their day with.
“Paramedics were once on their way to a woman who was believed to be drunk and had called for help. It was not clear what her problem was, said Hareb Al Yaeesh, a former paramedic and currently head of Emergency Unit of Bur Dubai, DCAS. “When the ambulance driver arrived at the scene, the woman knocked him on the head with her shoes and injured him. He ended up being transferred to hospital by the ambulance.”
Another case that gave Al Yaeesh and other paramedics a chance to have a good laugh was when they were dispatched to a labour accommodation to rescue a worker.
“It was 2am and we were heading to an industrial area expecting a serious case. Usually when rescuing a labourer, a worker from the accommodation meets us at one point and directs us to the patient’s location,” he said.
So they were not surprised when an Asian worker got into the front seat of the ambulance and began directing the driver, Al Yaeesh said.
“When his directions led us away from the accommodation and on to the main road, we asked him where the patient was. He pointed at himself saying he was the patient and asked us to take him to Rashid Hospital!”
Al Yaeesh said the worker believed that the ambulance was his transport service.
“It happens too often with labourers because they do not understand what an ambulance is for. We had to lecture the worker about his mistake,” Al Yaeesh said.
Recalling two bizarre cases, Al Yaeesh said that sometimes their job involves giving emotional support to people.
“Once a woman called the emergency number complaining of chest pain and breathing difficulties. When I reached her, I found her crying and complaining that her husband cheated on her in Spain. I had to comfort and calm her down,” Al Yaeesh said.
“In another case, an Emirati man called 999 complaining of tightness in his chest. When I reached the mall he was at, I learnt that he distraught after having caught the girl he loved walking around with another man.”
Though they sound silly, Al Yaeesh said attending to such cases is important because the person could be having a panic attack and might need oxygen.
“Around two to three calls a day are not emergency cases, but we still have to attend to them,” Al Yaeesh said. “Sometimes a case can turn serious, such as when a person reports an inability to breathe, or when they are having a nervous breakdown and could commit suicide. We have faced such incidents before.”