The Nation's Health + Paramedic

The Curious Incident With The Jaffa Cakes

"78 year old male, DIB, daughter gave him a box of Jaffa Cakes."

Yep. Jaffa Cakes. Depending on what system ambulance services use to triage calls, they either use AMPDS or NHS Pathways. Call takers follow a series of questions and the answer lead onto another. Eventually you get a determinant, a diagnosis and a level of response. Or in this case, crucial information regarding confectionery.

I love Jaffa Cakes. Probably too much. It is impossible to have just one. Utterly impossible. I think I could easily live on them. They have it all. Now, as much as I love Jaffa Cakes, I did wonder why this information was deemed pertinent. There were a number of scenarios that went through my head:

1) He was given Jaffa Cakes and he doesn't like them. This caused a blind rage, resulting in a heart attack and subsequent DIB.

2) He was given Jaffa Cakes and he LOVES them. This utter joy took his breath away causing carers to think he had DIB.

3) He ate ALL the Jaffa Cakes so quickly that he forgot to breathe and now is struggling to breathe.

4) He ate ALL the Jaffa Cakes and a Jaffa Cake or part of a Jaffa Cake went down the wrong way causing coughing and subsequent DIB.

5) He choked on a Jaffa Cake and isn't now breathing effectively.

6) Someone took away his Jaffa Cakes, causing a panic attack and subsequent DIB.

7) He had COPD and due to being distracted by Jaffa Cakes he forgot to take his medication. Now he has DIB.

8) He was concentrating so much on his Jaffa Cakes that he didn't look where he was going. He tripped, fell down some stairs, punctured his lung and now has DIB.

9) He has run out of Jaffa Cakes and is now having a panic attack.

10) He has DIB for an unknown reason. The Jaffa Cakes have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Well, with all these questions running through my head it was probably best that I went to see the patient.

No one was waiting for me at the care home so I found myself wondering the corridors saying 'Hello' at sporadic intervals. Eventually I was found and taken to the patient. Upon entering the room I instantly spotted an open pack of Jaffa Cakes. Unfortunately I didn't notice any DIB so that immediately discounts all of my predictions. There he was, lying in bed, not really communicating because of his dementia and there was me standing next to him looking confused.

"What's the problem today?"

"He has a temperature and his blood pressure is really high. Like really really high."

"I was told something about Jaffa Cakes?"

"Yes, his daughter gave him two packs of Jaffa Cakes. He ate ALL of one pack in one go!"

What a lad! So, that cleared up the Jaffa Cake mystery for now. As scandalous as it was that he ate an entire pack of Jaffa Cakes, it didn't seem totally relevant to my examination. Surprisingly his blood pressure was absolutely normal, as was his temperature. Back to the drawing board!

The crew arrived a few moments later. For the regular readers, it was the girl who threatened to send me a mongoose a few weeks ago. Her face said it all. She wanted to know ALL about the Jaffa Cakes! She also wanted a Jaffa Cake but she'll strenuously deny this accusation.

"As of yet, I haven't found anything wrong with him. Apparently he ate a whole pack of Jaffa Cakes. I don't think he shared."

Whilst doing his ECG the daughter arrived. The daughter who provided the Jaffa Cakes in the first place! I assure her that at this current moment we couldn't find anything wrong with her dad. I also had to ask about the Jaffa Cakes!

"He ate the whole pack!"

This really did seem to be the sticking point with everyone involved here. We had a man, who is normally bed bound, who by all accounts, had eaten a whole pack of Jaffa Cakes. Then someone phoned an ambulance. It really was a shocking state of affairs. Is this a police issue?! I mean it was a WHOLE pack of Jaffa Cakes and he didn't even share!

The crew sat him up and within about 20 seconds he had projectile vomited everywhere. By this point I was well and truly out of the line of fire, so happily stood at the back of the room by the door watching the clean up operation. (Whilst thinking about Jaffa Cakes)

Another resident of the care home appeared next to me. She was absolutely tiny! She stood next to me in her nightie, clutching tightly to her zimmer frame.

"Hello my dear!"

"Hello. You do know he ate an entire pack of Jaffa Cakes, don't you? The whole pack. I'd be sick if I ate a whole pack."

"Has he?! What a pig! Did he share them?!"

"Nope, not one, ate the lot. He deserves to be sick."

With that, she toddled off. Clearly the rumour mill in this care home is rife! A WHOLE box of Jaffa Cakes! IN ONE SITTING! And NO sharing. It's an utter outrage and quite frankly I just don't know how he will recover from this. In fact, I don't know how the care home will recover from this. I'm assuming all the national papers have been notified. I expect the tabloids are frantically working on headlines as we speak.

Whole pack of Jaffa Cakes. Well I never!

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