Boozing and boating
First some background:
I used to work as a nurse until March 2017. During training we theoratically learn first aid in a “wild” setting, but that’s very different from emergencies in a hospital, where you have a big crew and the right equipment. Still, you know the basics, and you learn how to calmly analyse the situation before making decisions.
One of the guests in this story was (is, probably) a gynecologist working in a delivery room, so the situation is pretty much the same for her.
Here we go:
This happened in the summer 2017, in a marina in Italy.
We arrived at noon in the marina because of an incoming gale, the crew was a bit grumpy over the short day out, but safety first. Next to us was another boat who had stayed in all day, opting for drinking and enjoying the sun in the cockpit instead. They were already pretty drunk.
Our crew got out some bottles of wine and started drinking too. They’re all adults, so nothing wrong with that (our guests aren’t allowed to drink before or during sailing. Afterwards it’s up to them). There was a decently sized motor yacht on the other side, the owner was lonely and invited all of us over. Our crew, minus my boyfriend and I, and some of the neighbours went. A few hours later all but two of our guests came back, claiming it was just too much for them. Everyone was drinking very heavily. Those who stayed were The Gynecologist and her Friend.
In the evening The Friend came back, he needed to use the loo. He was angry because the MV owner would only let him use the one on board if he took is shoes off*. He stomped back to our boat, but instead of using the toilet, he just peed on our gangway and started an argument. It was annoying and embarassing.
We went to bed around midnight, the other two were still partying. At four in the morning, the Friend rushed into our cabin and yelled that someone had fallen into the water, they need help!
We rushed over, just to see how they managed to drag on of the girls from the neighbouring boat back up on to the dock. The Gyn acted correctly and put her in a recovery position and the woman started to vomit water. The others told us that she was leaving the MV and fell of the gangway, went under the dock and resurfaced on the other side. Bad, bad, bad. Port/marina waters are notoriously dirty and nothing you want to swim in, even less inhale.
We ran over and my brain was in nurse mode, analysing and planning what to do. Me and my boyfriend told the MV owner to call for an ambulance. This is where the Gyn started to forget her training. She was absolutely wasted and in no condition to be practing medicine.
Well, she just “yelled” (slurred loudly, she couldn’t really articulate) at us, saying that an ambulance isn’t necessary, she just needs to sleep it off.
The woman was in and out of consciousness, my brain was remembering something from training about secondary drowning, she definitely needed an ambulance. As the MV owner called for one, I rushed back on board to get blankets, then went to guide the ambulance to the right place. After a few minutes I could hear yelling from the dock and went back.
Me bringing the woman blankets kick started the medicinal training in the Gyn, she was now screaming at my boyfriend that he needs to get infusions, she needs to put in an I.V. line. She called my boyfriend a murderer when he said no. He told her that we 1. don’t have that stuff onboard and 2. even if we had it, he would not let her near anyone with a needle in the shape that she’s in.
More screaming followed.
When the EMTs finally arrived, the Gyn refused to move over so that they could reach the woman. She was trying to explain to them in slurred, drunken German what has happened and was hoovering over the woman. The Italian EMTs, of course, couldn’t understand a word that she was saying and where trying to get her out of the way. My boyfriend told her to “finally move over and let the professionals do their job”.
During that time, I was knocking on the neighbour’s boat, trying to wake them up. Someone should better join her to the hospital and bring her papers. They were really annoyed at me banging at their boat in the middle of the night, when I told them what had happened one man let out a loooooong, annoyed sigh and called her name. It sounded like it wasn’t the first time.
The next day the Friend apologized for his behavior the previous day, he was super embarrassed. The Gyn, not so much. She saw my boyfriend and screamed at him again… “I AM NEVER TALKING TO YOU AGAIN!!!” and stormed off. She kept her word until two days later, then she got wasted again and started crying. She felt so belittled because he had called the EMTs professionals and she felt that he didn’t take her serious as a doctor… She refused to accept that she was drunk.
The woman was admitted to the hospital, she was in the ICU for two weeks, she has a massive pneumonia from aspirating the dirty marina water and according to our neighbours was close to dying from secondary drowning.
I know that a lot of people associate boating with drinking, but it can turn dangerous so, so fast. The woman was lucky to survive.
*Never, ever enter someone’s boat with shoes on, that’s a huge faux pas. The MV owner was not asking for something unreasonable with his request.