BBC Ambulance shows moving scenes of homeless men sheltering from the snow – Manchester Evening News
Manchester’s homelessness crisis has been laid bare by paramedics who say they are increasingly faced with helping rough sleepers and the ‘hidden homeless’.
Thursday night’s episode of BBC1’s Ambulance showed ambulance crews faced with helping two homeless men as they struggled to keep warm during a snowy spell.
Crews were called out to help a man called Dean who had been sleeping in a doorway under silver foil during a cold snap last winter.
Medics were called out to visit Dean by a member of the rough sleeping team and found him drunk and lying on the ground.
“I’ll be alright, I wanna die anyway,” he tells paramedics Ellis and Jenny.
“Well that’s not gonna happen today Dean,” says Ellis as they help him into an ambulance.
Dean explains that he’s an alcoholic and tells Ellis: “I’m bloody freezing.”
The documentary shows an emotional exchange between Eliis and Dean, who tells of the tragic loss of his mum, dad and brother and his previous struggle with heroin and crack cocaine.
“I feel very sad,” Dean says.
Having discovered that he has a very low temperature, the medics transport Ellis to Manchester Royal Infirmary.
During the journey Ellis tells Dean: “Men are allowed to be upset. You don’t have to be the tough man. That’s not life anymore. It never was.” and encourages the rough sleeper to pursue his dream of becoming a counsellor before wheeling him from the ambulance with a smile on his face.
“If you could bounce back and you could help people in your situation. You’d be the best person to do it. If you can turn it around and prove to people that it might be a bit s*** now but things get better. So keep doin it mate.”
As they drive away Ellis and Jenny reflect on the old adage that ‘everyone is only ever two paychecks away from being homeless’.
Earlier on in the documentary advance paramedic John is called out to help police who have found a suspected homeless man sleeping in a van with a very low pulse.
He is sitting in the driver’s seat in the dark, sheltering from the snow.
The man tells John his name is Lee and he has slipped on the snow and cut his hand.
Through tears he tells the paramedic: “I got attacked in McDonald’s for no reason at all” and explains that he is on methadone.
After taking Lee to hospital John tells the camera crews: “He’s clearly just trying to get some shelter from the snow.
“There’s a growing problem with hidden homeless as well to be honest. There’s a large number of people that are sofa surfing and aren’t particularly the visible ones that you see in the street so it’s something we’re trying to consider and report. We try and get these people picked up and put in some sort of system.”
Another moving story shown on tonight’s episode showed medics racing to a leisure centre in Salford, where a man in hs 50s had suffered a cardiac arrest.
The patient’s heart had stopped but his life was saved thanks to the quick thinking actions of leisure centre staff who used a defibrillator to revive him.
Specialist doctor Matt arrives at the centre to find the patient being taken to an ambulance in a wheelchair.
“He’s been dead for a period of time and he’s being wheeled out in a wheelchair,” he says. “You know that’s just down to one reason. Even with all the training and all the bells and whistles there’s absolutely no way to be able to get an outcome like that.”
He then thanks the staff member who used the defibrillator telling her: “Thank you. We never ever come to arrests that look like this This is exactly why you need to buy a defib just for outcomes like this.”
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