I was asked recently “what is it like being married to a policeman?”
I am asked this quite frequently, sometimes with a glint in the eye of the questioner, something about use of handcuffs and a man in uniform.
Sometimes its from people who like a sneaky puff of grass on the weekend, and they wonder how we manage to enjoy our weekends without drugs.
Often I reply with a bit of banter “I can produce my car documents in record time”, but this weekend I replied with something else.
Whilst we were both off duty this weekend, 3 police officers were assaulted in Norfolk (there may be many other assaults on officers across the country which haven’t made it to press).
My first thought was selfish; thank goodness my husband wasn’t on duty this time.
A few months ago, it was my husband who was the recipient of an assault.
He was on the way back to the station, at the end of an early shift, and spotted someone who was wanted. He arrested the person, and during the event the detained man bit him.
I was at home, with our son.
We were expecting him home for dinner, and to spend some quality family time together. Shifts are a killer for normal family life! We served our dinner, and put aside his portion without a second thought beyond ‘he’s just running a bit late, as normal’
What he was actually doing was checking in the man to the cells, and making his way to minor injuries to get medical attention for the human bite he received. Scamp and I got ready for bed, and snuggled down for a story. He asked “Where is Daddy? Is he on Late’s?” I reassured him that Daddy would be home soon, and he would come and give him a kiss goodnight.
I heard him come home, and heard him call me from the bottom of the stairs. “Can you come down, but leave scamp in bed?” Easier said than done. Scamp is 4, and he adores his Daddy. “No! you come in here, we are doing a story and want a kiss goodnight.”
“I can’t. Come down please.” He was quite firm about it this time.
I peered down the stairs to see blood on his shirt, I realised why scamp needed to stay in bed. Hubby quickly told me that he’d had a tough day, and needed to go back to work to complete the paperwork, but wanted to let us know he was ok.
I told him that he needed to go to A&E for treatment. There was a clear break to the skin, and although the wound had stopped bleeding, there was a significant wound. He told me that Minor Injuries refused to see him, and told him to attend A&E.
The wound was an abrasion type wound, which has clear marks of dentition. The circumference of the wound is indicative of an adult bite.
NICE guidelines indicate that there is increased risk of infection due to delayed presentation of more than 8 hours following the incident.
Further guidance published by NHS Wales makes the following point:
“Following a human bite, the risk of bacterial infection is greater than the risk of BBV infection. More than 42 different species of bacteria have been isolated in the human mouth and up to 190 when gingivitis or periodontitis are present.
“The most common organisms in human bites include Streptococcus spp, Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus spp, Eikenella corrodens, Bacteroides spp and other anaerobes. E. corrodens has been found in 25% of human bites to the hand…..
“Therefore, antibiotic prophylaxis should be prescribed for all human bite wounds under 72 hours old if there are no signs of infection.”
The prisoner has been in prison on several occasions over the last 10 years, therefore it would be reasonable to presume that he would fall in to the category of “high risk” of carrying a Blood Born Virus (BBV)
The document attached ( HSE http://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/diseases/bbv.pdf ) indicates that prisoners are fifteen to twenty times more likely to be carriers of BBV.
He attended A&E the following day, where he was advised that they would only take a blood sample, but needed clarity about who the results would be reported to.
He was led to believe that they will not be testing this sample until they know who will be responsible for the onward care.
48 hours after the incident and he had NOT been started on preventative antibiotic or antivirus treatment – despite the risk being significant.
He was advised that the Police Occupational Health clinic was full, and there was no clinician who would be able to assist in ensuring that I would be able to receive timely treatment or commence the blood screening to rule out BBV.
Again, from NHS wales guidelines – “where the biter can be identified, and where it is appropriate to do so, they should undergo the same risk assessment as the person they have bitten and their blood should also be tested if they consent.”
The prisoner was not asked, despite being very aware of the injury that he gave to my husband.
There is no legal requirement for the assailant to provide a blood sample, even though he has committed a crime and has put my husband at risk of blood born virus – HIV, Hepatitis etc.
72 hours after the bite, hubby got a follow up with occupational health. He was given a list of dates for further blood tests. Some BBV are not detected until 3 or even 6 months from exposure.
So, what is it like being married to a police officer? Its terrifying.
Will he come home in time for tea? Will he do bedtime story? Will he get travel insurance for our holiday this year? Will he come home?
I expect a number of wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends have experienced similar. And to them I offer support. Unfortunately some have lost their significant other in the line of duty. To them I give unconditional love, and deep condolences. “There for the grace of God go I”.
This blog was written by one of our followers (Emergency Services Humour).
If you have a similar story, incident or blog that you would like to share with our readers, then please contact us via our Facebook page @EmergencyServicesHumour