Sunday, 5 December 2021

Hospital PM Scares

 
I'm a big fan of the YouTube channel "The Darkest Secret". It is presented by a lady from Mexico who produces very well-designed videos featuring spooky photos and footage, usually of ghosts and related phenomena. Hospitals are hotbeds for the presence of such phenomena. Nobody knows why for sure. Believers in the paranormal say that it is caused by the amount of pain, suffering, fear and death that goes on with their walls. This generates a kind of "psychic charge" that causes rifts between our world and the "spirit-world". Skeptics claim that these are hallucinations brought on by overworked and stressed out healthcare providers or drug induced in the case of patients. I can honestly tell you that I never saw anything definitively spooky in all my twenty-three years as a hospital porter; however I heard stories from other staff along those lines. On one occasion, I came on duty for a night shift at ten PM and was deployed to A and E. There I heard that the previous nursing shift, that finished about an hour and half before the portering late shift, was buzzing with excitement over an incident in the Clinical Decisions Unit (This is really just an extension of A and E where patients can be moved to so we can falsely claim we are beating the waiting time targets). A nurse on duty in the unit saw a glowing spectral humanoid figure standing in one of the corridors of the ward. The source for this apparition is unknown and there were no independent witnesses. However, a patient was undergoing CPR in Resus, about forty yards away, at that time. Was this the patient astral travelling? This video includes skin-crawling evidence gathered in hospital post-mortem suites. It's a terrifying thing if you're not used to it, but occasionally dead bodies can move slightly and even make sounds. Indeed, I've had to comfort one or two new rookies over the years when they experience this for the first time and run screaming from the department. This is caused by the contraction of muscles as rigor mortis sets in; and vocal chords being active so when air flows in the lungs and respiratory tracts as the porters move the cadaver, it moans and groans. The case in the thumbnail image, of the body sitting bolt upright and screaming, has been known; but this is due to the misdiagnosis of death. Fortunately it is very rare nowadays, but was quite common in the past. People in very deep unconscious states were wrongly pronounced dead and later came to while being processed for burial. What a horrible experience! The most famous modern case is that on Dannion Brinkley, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDrDYPzbvlc.
 
The video image of a Grim Reaper-like black figure is one of the most frequently reported phenomenon. It could be that there really is such a thing. The ancient Greeks called it an "asphyx", an aetheric being that comes down from the spirit-world to collect a soul when it departs a body at the point of death. This concept led to what I consider one of the finest horror films ever made, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RlB9NiNGr4. Could that little amateur video clip be evidence of a real asphyx? Alternatively it could simply be somebody actually dressed like that. The providers do not react to its presence; so either they know what it already or they can't see it. Sometimes creepy images can appear in photographs where what is depicted is not visibly present. The car selfie is a good example. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGixwPeFIWU. Of course this image could be faked. It is easily possible to produce digital images using modern available electronics like this that look as real as if they were truly there. That is the current burden for all kinds of paranormal research, UFOlogy, Loch Ness, ghosts etc. Photographic evidence no longer carries the same weight that it used to and there is a terrible signal-to-noise ratio problem as a result. However images like the one taken can sometimes be seen in older photographs that predate that technology. Hospital ghosts are a very scary and yet interesting topic, regardless of your opinion of their factual nature.
See here for background: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2015/07/alyson-dunlop-on-hospital-ghosts.html.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Guess What?...

 
David Fuller is the so-called "bedsit murderer". He killed two women in 1987, leaving one of their bodies in a pool of blood on her bed in her bedsit; and the other in a ditch by a farmer's field. At the time forensic DNA profiling had only just been invented and it wasn't until 2019 that its methods reached a capability to expose the villain who had carried out these horrific actions in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. They arrested a sixty-seven year old male and charged him with the murders. During the investigation they uncovered another deeply unsettling and nauseating story. Fuller had worked in two hospitals from 1989, the Kent and Sussex Hospital and, from 2011, the Tunbridge Wells Penbury Hospital. He was still employed at the latter at the time of his arrest in 2020. He had a massive amount of obscene publications on computer drives and other digital media. These included images of himself sexually abusing corpses in the mortuaries of both hospitals. He had security access to the post-mortem suites as part of his job and used to carry out these crimes when the departmental staff had gone home and he was alone there. However, there is one fact connected to this sickening affair that is probably unknown to most people who have heard of it because they have just skim-read the news stories and have assumed otherwise. It needs to be stated unequivocally for the record. Ready?...
HE WAS NOT A PORTER!
There, I bet that surprised a lot of you! No, he was a technical supervisor in the Estates department and his job was routine maintenance. Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-59167648. I don't know why it is that whenever something like this happens at a hospital everybody always assumes that a porter must be the culprit. Maybe it's because of Jimmy Savile, which is understandable, see: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2015/02/jimmy-savile-nhs-knew.html. Also, hospital porters are not angels. Sometimes they do evil things, for example see the background links. I do still wish people would not jump to that conclusion so quickly. As a population, we are no more good or bad than human beings in general.
See here for background: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2021/05/paul-farrell-jailed.html.
And: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2020/12/oxford-grooming-gang.html.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

The Mitie HP's

 
The Mitie Group PLC are taking over the OxRad porters. Why do I feel that a dark period of history is about to repeat itself? Mitie is a company specializing in public service outsourcing. Its name is an acronym for "Management Incentive Through Investment Equity"... whatever the hell that means. The firm's profile is to move into government and council institutions and do the same job their house staff used to do; but do it much worse and get away with it because they are not officially part of that institution. It's the oldest trick in the book. What results from this nasty and deceptive practice are unsanitary levels of hygiene, poor quality food, inefficient and unreliable engineering, undisciplined and disorganized workforces and, in its most extreme form, war crimes committed by "civilian contractors", mercenaries in other words, in places like Iraq, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Mitie are based in London and have two hundred offices across the country. They're quite an old company; in fact they got a contact for the security guards at the John Radcliffe before I left. Their track record has all the red flags: "The firm secured a cleaning contract with Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust in June 2014 worth £90m over seven years. Sick pay cost £1.2m in its first eight months, compared with £280,000 for the NHS in the previous financial year. UNISON blamed the rise on staff stress, which it claimed had been caused by mistakes in pay... In March 2016 Mitie came under fire for its management of the immigration centres after the prison inspectorate said the facilities were dirty and rundown... Mitie cleaners at the Royal Opera House, the Houses of Parliament, the law firm Clifford Chance, First Great Western railways, and NHS hospitals have all held demonstrations against low pay between 2013 and 2015." (Wikipedia) In other words, Mitie are almost a cardboard cut-out of ISS Mediclean. I'm tempted to ask why the people running our hospitals keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again when they must surely have learned that this will end in disaster. However, it is not a mistake. It's being done deliberately. The hospital is not dying; it's being murdered. The fallout; the death and injury of patients, the demoralization, trauma and, in some cases, suicide or death from sickness, of the servicemen are all intentional. What's more, my secret agent on the inside has informed me that the ROE retained porters are being ordered to provide fingerprints, like criminals, for a new electronic clocking machine. My daughter's school tried to do that to her. You can guess what I said, see: https://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2007/11/this-is-drawing-done-by-my-12-year-old.html. The HPWA is not meant to be political; that is the purpose of my other blogpages; but sometimes I have to make it so. This is one of those occasions. Stay strong MEP&DB&S porters!

Monday, 1 November 2021

A HP's Life in Lockdown

 
This short article is very interesting and it struck a chord with me so much. Joe Albro is a young porter at the Harrogate District Hospital, outside the capital in the heart of North Yorkshire. He says: "I like to think of porter as short for transporter." Partly. Both words are related to the Latin portare which means "to carry". He goes on to describe his duties in the pandemic lockdown and makes the correct point that most of what he does lies "behind the curtain", away from public perception. This gives the majority of civilians a blinkered view of what is involved. I am in touch with my brother and sister porters on the inside of the John Radcliffe and so I have been informed about the current state of affairs. However it's good to hear another story from a different hospital in a different region of the country. I drilled for infection control all the time during my service, but never had to do it for real. I thought I would feel frustrated and disappointed about this at first, but I don't. I feel relieved. Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-55984765.
See here for background: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2021/02/coronavirus-portal.html.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Porter's Bed

 
From now on I will be calling any chair with a straight back and no arms a "porter's bed". Why is that, Ben? I hear you ask. It's because of the traditional sleeping posture of the hospital porter. First, sit down on the porter's bed and place your feet firmly and flat on the floor. Lean back of the chair back as far as you can and sit bolt upright. Now, fold your arms tightly and high up on your chest. Lean your head to one side until you feel your neck muscles relax. That's it; sweet dreams!

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

The World's End- the Ultimate HP Movie

 
The World's End is a science fiction comedy by Edgar Wright, starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, making it one of the informal series of films called "the Cornetto Trilogy". It is about a group of middle aged male friends who go on a reunion pub crawl together after not seeing each other since they were schoolboys. During the course of the evening they discover, to their obvious amazement, that their old hometown is being invaded by alien robots disguised as humans. See here for the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n__1Y-N5tQk. The film is not set in a hospital, none of the characters are hospital porters and therefore you are right to wonder why I consider it an archetypal hospital portering movie. One reason, I concede, is simply wishful thinking. Hospital portering films are generally very bad. There have only been a handful of them ever made and they only get just very slightly better from their absolute nadir in the form of Paper Mask, see: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2012/11/paper-mask-online.html. Inevitably when a film comes along that I like, I search desperately for HP themes. Rarely do I find them, but sometimes I do. The World's End embodies, probably unintentionally, a primal portrait of HP culture. The characters all remind me of men I knew in the Hospital Portering Service. You may say that's merely a coincidence and nothing to do with the HPS; but, you see, I knew several of each type. I knew maybe only one or two civilians like that, but many many porters. Gary is loud, over exuberant and alcoholic. Underneath his flamboyant bonhomie lies a self-centred and entitled exploiter. When alcoholics behave like that it is not through malice. It is simply the art of living with their addiction. I lost count of the number of alcoholic porters I knew. The malady was endemic. I could write an entire article on that subject and to go into detail, but to do so now would take me off topic. Gary-types sometimes conceal a golden heart beneath their facades that, as brother porters, we alone could see. Get them alone and win their trust, and they will confide in you. Pete is the staid, introverted and gentile kind of porter, usually short of physical stature and methodical in his movements. Steve is the mildly eccentric porter with unusual facial features, a bit like the Gary-type, but much calmer. The Steve-type knows everything. To Steves, hospital life is a real soap opera. No bit of gossip or hospital intrigue escapes his attention. In fact he almost loses his senses with discomfort if he feels something is going on behind his back that he doesn't know about, even if it is an aspect of another's private life. Oliver is similar to Steve except that he has pretensions of grandeur. Olivers are the ones most like to be "serial re-leavers", see here for a detailed explanation of that: https://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2019/06/st-theo-2019.html. Some Olivers, but not all, are an "up the ladder" porter too, one who has aspirations, whether serious or just frivolous, of "bettering themselves" by become a nurse, paramedic or ODP etc. However Garys are the most common personality with that attitude. Jack was a classic Gary, see here for details: https://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2007/12/dont-tell-em-were-porters.html. Andy is a middle class dropout. Hospital portering tends to attract those kinds of people. One in particular I remember was an old Harrovian who had studied at Oxford, but had a nervous breakdown halfway through his course. He never recovered and spent the rest of his life in HPing. He started off at the Radcliffe Infirmary before the JRH was ever built. Despite their privileged background, Andys never fall into "up the ladder" culture. They remain salt-of-the-earth porters, even if some of them retain their posh accents.
 
At the heart of the story of The World's End, and also hospital portering society, is alcoholic drink. Whether it's the pint after a two-to-ten, fighting a hangover on your first morning six-to-two, a wild bender at the Park End Club on your first night off or wondering if you can get away with a shot of vodka on a nightshift afternoon; your relationship to the demon drink is a part of your life in HPing. In fact the film's plot twist is so extreme that this viewer was left wondering if everything that happens afterwards is just some sort of intoxicated delirium that HP's sometimes experience in the same way sailors on a submarine suffer "coffin dreams". There are some interesting characters in the film that resemble civilians. Sam and the evil twins are rather like several nurses I knew. Rev. Green is an ex-HP turned administration officer. Most porters like him start off as shop stewards. Mr Shepherd is an old doctor, a consultant of the aloof and self-absorbed variety. The odd one out is "mad Basil" the conspiratorial preacher... and you can guess who he signifies. For people familiar with the HPANWO blogs, there are of course many other factors to The World's End that are of interest to their readers; but leaving that aside for this review, the film is a hymn to the hospital portering spirit. Really, only a true porter could stand tall in the situation the Gary King character was in and shout "Oh fuck off, you big lamp!"
See here for more information: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2016/12/hospital-porters-in-media.html.
And: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2013/07/disorderlies.html.
And: https://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.com/2019/07/porters-series-2.html.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Happy St Theo's Day 2021!

 
On behalf of every serving hospital porter, every former hospital porter, and everybody else who loves, appreciates and supports us, with all the Pride and Dignity of my Extremely Proud and Dignified Brother and Sister Porters, I'd like to wish all my friends and readers, a very happy St Theo's Day.
See here for The Gas Spanner St Theo 2021: https://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.com/2021/06/the-gas-spanner-programme-13.html.
See here for the HPANWO TV St Theo 2021 livestream: https://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2021/06/st-theos-day-2021-livestream.html.