Thursday, 3 September 2009

Laughing gas

This is funny and sad, and as the human condition exists beyond the realm of politics, it’s interesting even not from an ideological or partisan point of view…

It won’t stop me from digging, mind you.

Since the New Labour State is holding itself to be powerful in all areas of life these days, then I can hold it in part responsible, n’est-ce pas?

Burnley paramedic 'stole thousands of litres of painkilling gas'

A BURNLEY paramedic could be kicked out of the profession after stealing thousands of litres of painkilling gas from ambulance supplies.

Could be?’

This chap is involved with up to 47,880 missing litres of gas, and he only ‘could be’ for the sack?

I have to concede that firing a highly-trained ambulance man out of hand would be a loss to our National Health Service (Pride Of The Country, Envied By The Entire Civilized World including all the countries in the civilized world which do not copy it - which is all of them), and so that discretion might be the economical thing to do here, and also humane, but I’d love to be there when the disciplinary board or whoever deliberates on this one…

‘So colleagues, Paramedic First Class Standing: do we keep him or do we let him go?’

‘Director, I think we have to keep him on. He’s highly skilled and very experienced and would be costly to replace. So what if he thinks that the Global Weasel League are running the world from their Blackpool Tower penthouse Morris-dancing studio and that both 9/11 and the 1966 World Cup Final were not only inside jobs, but that they were the same inside job? Because, boy O boy, can that lad give CPR!’

Timothy Standing dosed himself up on the addictive nitrous oxide based substance Entonox - commonly used to provide pain relief during childbirth and dental operations, a misconduct probe heard.

Bosses at the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) launched an enquiry after 133 cylinders, each containing 360 litres of Entonox, went missing in 2007.

Now, they could have gone missing, Johnny Cash style, by stealing one per day every other day or two or three, over a year when everyone else went off shift…

Or did he take them out en masse in a lorry when everyone was watching Corrie?

Or perhaps he smuggled the cylinder out on outward-bound calls (on the way to motorway pile-ups or failing home-births that need to be brought into the warmly comforting presence of MRSA) and dropping them off at some dingy medical-supplies abuse dive called The Crypt O’ Crutches perhaps, or The Daffy Dentist

When investigators searched Standing's home in Burnley they found six canisters.

He now admits taking between 15 and 20 cylinders in 2007, and claims he used it to get over a recent break-up.

Now, if you know Burnley men at all you can understand him a bit here. Sensitivity of lard, most of them. ‘Never mind lad, let’s have fifteen pints and swear about women’ is probably the best he could hope for, sympathy-wise; or even ‘Let’s take prescription drugs and dream insanely of the day when Burnley FC proudly enters the Premiership as giant-killers…’

Nah. It’ll never happen.

And where are the other 113 or so cylinders?

Graham Lovatt, a sector manager for NWAS, told a Health Professionals' Council disciplinary hearing in Central London that he was asked to investigate the matter in September 2007.

He said: “I was made aware of the usage of the cylinders prior to the discovery of the gas at the property of Mr Standing.

“The Entonox usage had been going up. In July 30 canisters were used; in August around 50; and in September 180.

Whoa dude! Laughing gas; just say hee hee hee!

That’s a fast-growing habit…or else they were all at it.

You know how it is with medical gear. A colleague walks into work one day just stinking of Savlon Antiseptic Liquid and the management don’t rebuke him – they don’t even question him, it’s got that sloppy. And then at a party at the weekend a few pals are passing round a saline drip and you try a shot and the next thing you know you’re smuggling a few hundred litres of BOC’s finest Worsley-grown Emma Jane back to the flat to forget your sorrows and drown out the endless, maddening folk music from the eye-shaped beacon atop Blackpool Tower’s darkly gleaming pinnacle.

The shrieking of the valves. The awful gleam of the keyboards. The hellish rasp of the bellows…

“The number of canisters we were having to order was very high.

“There was this increased usage without any explanation.”

‘’ere, our Daniel. ‘ow come we’ve suffered a six-fold increase in t’ use o’ analgesics in two months?’

‘I don’t know, our Dad. It’s a queer job an’ no mistake. Life in England’s grown so painful, an’ we’re all a bit on edge ever since Katie left Peter. Makes amputations hurt that little bit more, knowing that Jordan’s likely to win any child custody battles, an’ worse, that Peter’s mayhap goin’ to cut another record to pay fer t’ costs. God save us all.’

‘Aye, tha’s probably reet, lad. Order up another thirty braces an’ double the subscription to Gossip an’ Heat magazines. A chap has to know where his idols are, if not his Nitrous Oxide, an’ what are taxpayers for, when all is said and done?’

Mr Lovatt said normally only 15 to 20 cylinders needed to be ordered per month.

Lovatt...Lovatt? This chap hasn’t been on the funny air as well has he? Imagines he’s an officer of Commandos and takes his own bagpiper everywhere, perhaps..?

He added that after speaking to other managers in the ambulance service, Standing’s name soon cropped up.

That’ll be on the Northwest NHS staff notice board, no doubt, under: ‘Wanted, recycling bin for high-pressure containers.’

The paramedic was known to have had a number of personal difficulties, including the recent separation from his partner and the death of his father.

In September 2007, he was interviewed and came clean about taking the gas.

The hearing was told that after Standing came clean, the use of the gas returned to normal levels.

Just like Global Warming would do, no doubt, if Al Gore and his team ‘came clean’ and admitted that it’s in fact been getting colder.

Greg Oceallaigh, for Standing, said the case was complicated because of his client’s poor memory.

‘Yeah…yeah, I took them tubes from the Burnley Ambulance Station. Yeah, I was all alone. But by the time we got to Woodstock, me and the badgers, we were half a million strong…’

He said that at the time of the allegations his client was suffering from ‘a minor depressive illness’ and was also taking the drug Champix to give up cigarettes.

He said this affected Standing’s memory to the extent he could not remember what he was doing in September 2007.

Well, I remember exactly what I was doing every day when I was giving up smoking: I was thinking about having a cigarette every minute of every hour of every day, that’s what.

As a result Mr Oceallaigh asked the HPC panel if it would adjourn the case and re-open it before a health committee.

But his request was dismissed by the HPC panel.

He’s been taking legal drugs illegally to counteract grief and stress and that’s exacerbated the effects of another legal drug that he was taking to overcome the consequences of no longer taking another legal drug. To my surprise, I’m actually sympathetic to him on this one having been in all the situations he has (except for all the illegal drug taking and theft and possible dereliction of duty, that is) but is he mad to ask to be interviewed on health grounds – or is he just pretending to be?

He denies misconduct or that his fitness to practise is impaired.

Mourning. Separation. Giving up smoking. Stealing clinical supplies from work and dosing yourself illegally…

Sometimes, I think, even in the best of the NHS (Pride Of The Country, Envied By The Entire Civilized World including all the countries in the civilized world which do not copy it - which is all of them), where they discovered and detected massive theft in a mere two months and take a sprightly run and two years later put the alleged malefactor to the question… even then, I can see the human side of it, and it’d be cruel to sack him: vindictive and expensive, and who ever heard of a junkie giving a wrong dose of something, or standing on an air tube or drip, or who let a little air into a hypodermic?

Come on, everybody does it: nicks post-it notes or pens or highly refined mind-bending drugs from work, and it’s not like taking a hit or two can cause lasting harm, now can it?

Mercy, I say.

‘Heart stopped. Dammit! Go for electrical cardioversion. Clear?’



‘Who said that second ‘clear’ Tim? There’s only two of us in the ambulance.’

‘Why, it was me, Mister Defibrillator Man: Lord Stripy, Badger King and friend to the sick and dying. Can I please have a go with your sizzling ping-pong bats? They look all shiny and fun to play with. Give 'em here. Give 'em to Lord Stripy...’



Barking Spider said...

He'd have been much better off with a van-load of spliff, NNW. Nitrous oxide - just say NO! (just a poor little chemistry joke, there)

James Higham said...

He’s been taking legal drugs illegally to counteract grief and stress and that’s exacerbated the effects of another legal drug that he was taking to overcome the consequences of no longer taking another legal drug.


North Northwester said...


NO! That's a pun righ tdown with dear old Papa Northwester's worst. I salute you sir! Can you see me saluting you? And what with? ;-)
I'm a good social conservative now - I just can't say anything good about Grass. They'd throw me out of the Grump Club in short order.

Thank you James.
They keep on piling up the stupid, and we keep on mentioning that it is, indeed, a pile of s....

Anonymous said...

He's is still employed at the trust, though he has been downgraded to Technician level.

Interestingly, there is another story at NWAS - a Head of IT got sacked for accessing files he had access to... work that one out...! Oh, and they cant actually prove it either - the bloke investigating this (apparently he's in charge of Data Security lol!!!) did in fact allow the files to be deleted - but they sacked him anyway...!!! Without evidence...!!!

North Northwester said...

Hi Anonymous, welcome, and thanks for that information.
Utter muscular dishonesty doesn't keep you from looking after the sick, then?
Got to praise the unions - who ever gets sacked from the NHS, I wonder?
Hmm, you've heard the old English proverb "As efficient as the NHS?" Me, neither.

Anonymous said...

North Northwester - the poor IT guy got sacked from the NHS - for essentially doing his job...!

worth looking into, methinks... ;-) Good story in it for someone...

try asking at the Employment Tribunal office for info, I beleive that it is on it's way there as we speak......


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