For Singapore Civil Defence Forces (SCDF) paramedics, a day on the job can include dealing with medical emergencies and managing distressed family members — both of which aren't simple tasks.
But what's it really like on the job?
Two paramedics from the SCDF, Nurhidayah and Benjamin Yeo recently shared some of their most memorable experiences in a video interview uploaded by local YouTube channel You Got Watch Sg on Oct 29.
When asked about the most memorable case they've taken on, Hidayah recalled a case where she found an unconscious patient lying on the floor in a pool of his own bodily fluids.
"[He] fell down and fractured his legs and arms, so he couldn't get up for 11 days. So the way he survived was actually through consuming his own bodily fluids."
And that wasn't all.
After flipping the man over, Hidayah found a "huge gaping hole" on his cheek due to necrosis, which is the death of cells in body tissues due to a lack of blood flow.
"I think unfortunately for us paramedics or the people in emergency medical services, the more memorable cases are usually the more gruesome ones," Yeo chimed in.
It wasn't mentioned in the video where this incident took place.
As for himself, Yeo recounted an incident attending to a cardiac arrest case where a man was unconscious and had no pulse.
"When we were doing our resuscitative efforts, [his wife] started crying, saying [things] like 'Don't leave me, what's going to happen to our baby?'"
Apart from dealing with gruesome and heart-wrenching encounters, Hidayah and Yeo also mentioned that they too sometimes get abused or harassed by their patients or their family members.
"When you're at scene, sometimes the family members might beg you, or shout at you to try and saved their loved ones."
"We understand that it's probably due to denial or shock, but there's only so much we can try to do," explained Yeo, who divulged that he has been slapped by a drunk patient once.
Sometimes, drunk or mentally unsound patients can also "get a bit inappropriate or touchy".
"If the patient is of sound mind, we will usually warn them," said Hidayah. However, in instances where patients are out of line, the police are roped in to help.
"Sometimes, the police officers follow us in the ambulance," she said.
Non-emergency ambulances aren't free
Another issue that's pretty common for paramedics is dealing with non-emergency cases.
Cheeky references to Annette Lee's non-emergency rap aside, Hidayah said that "society sometimes doesn't have confidence in us and our expertise, so they will insist on going to the hospital.
"So what we tell them is: 'Sure, we can bring you. No problem. But of course, there are costs incurred lah.'"
Generally, calling an ambulance during a medical emergency is free, but SCDF charges an ambulance fee of $274 for non-emergency cases.
Non-emergency cases include ailments like toothaches, diarrhoea, coughs and headaches.
"So let's say you have a non-emergency case, call Grab lah," Hidayah said. "If the [patient's] condition worsens, just call 995 again. We're not gonna refuse you."
ALSO READ: 'I felt I was melting': Experienced SCDF firefighter on 'very intense' heat in Telok Blangah Rise blaze