Examiner crime reporter ANDREW HIRST spent the Friday night before Christmas with an ambulance crew in Huddersfield - and discovered that booze was behind every emergency call they answered.
THE call came in as a man with cut wrists.
Paramedics Alan Parkinson and Jenny Scott were within half-a-mile of the takeaway in Huddersfield town centre.
They were there in a minute - long before the police.
This meant they faced a dilemma. The man could have a knife. Do they go in or wait for the police to arrive first and disarm him?
Alan went to the door and the takeaway owner rushed to him to say blood was everywhere.
Blood spots were all over the floor, leading to a seat near the counter where the man was sitting hunched over.
Alan approached him cautiously.
There was a thick pool of blood on the chair next to the man, another on the table and blood was dripping to the floor from his other wrist.
Alan went into the man's view, explained who he was and asked him to open his coat.
This was so he could see any knife.
The man's eyes were glazed over, his speech was slurred and virtually incoherent. He was almost asleep.
But the large blood loss worried Alan. He knew he had to act quickly.
He asked the man what he'd done, and in the garbled reply he got the word 'fight' was recognisable.
But at least he didn't have a knife.
Alan managed to hold his wrist and have a good look.
It was a horrible wound. The blood was already caked all over the man's hand and arm - and running down his other hand and arm as he'd tried to stop it.
Jenny came in with a large pad, which they wrapped round his arm to stem the blood flow. They then gently led him to the ambulance, where they carried on bandaging him and Jenny held his arm up high.
It was still unclear what had happened and the police were on their way.
Alan went back to the takeaway and followed the blood spots. They led him to the travel agents next door.
There was a hole punched in one of the windows on the front door.
The man had simply punched through it, slashing his wrist on the jagged glass.
Alan and Jenny made the decision to get him to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. As they went up Trinity Street a police van sped the other way, on its way to the takeaway.
"It's a nasty wound that severed a ligament and he can't feel his little finger,'" said Alan.
"He may end up needing specialist plastic surgery. He'll be transferred to Bradford Royal Infirmary for that."
The man stayed calm on the journey, but tried to get up to walk when we arrived at Accident and Emergency.
"Don't get up," said Alan.
"Stay on the bed, mate. If you can walk we'd have sent you up on the bus!"
Another Friday night. Another booze-fuelled drama.
Alan, 57, said: "On Friday and Saturday nights I reckon around 80% of calls we deal with are alcohol-related.
"On top of that, so many people take drugs - which can really complicate things."
On that night, every call turned out to have a booze connection.
The next was to a 23-year-old man suffering chest pains at Huddersfield railway station.
He was on a bench on a platform, clutching his chest.
He told Alan he'd been on a night out, but was on medication and had only drunk a couple of pints. He reckoned his drinks had been spiked.
They walked him to the ambulance and checked his heart rate with a couple of electrocardiogram heart tracings. known as ECGs.
He was talkative, especially to 27-year-old Jenny, describing her several times as a "sexy lady".
He finally claimed to be the best-looking bloke she'd cared for in the back of the ambulance.
She confirmed that wasn't the case.
He was taken to HRI to be checked out, but there was no way he should have been drinking on top of the medication he was taking.
By 1am things had livened up on King Street - the home to most of Huddersfield's trendy bars.
Another Huddersfield paramedic had been attacked minutes before and shoved by a man who had reportedly collapsed there, claiming he'd been knocked out in a brawl.
The police immediately arrested the man, who ended up in a cell rather than casualty.
Police had called for an ambulance for another man with facial injuries.
When we arrived this victim was being cared for by his brother.
The man's nose had been literally flattened and bent to the side.
He'd been attacked in a pub toilet and taken quite a hammering. But he was distraught about the mess the attackers had done to his nose.
"Just get me to hospital so they can straighten it," he said.
Alan knew it wasn't going to be as easy as that.
As they were assessing him in the back of the ambulance the back door was flung open and a drunken man asked for a taxi home.
Jenny replied calmly: "It's an ambulance, mate."
And added when he'd shut the door: "Should have gone to Specsavers."
But before we could set off the police rushed over again.
They had found a woman collapsed at the bottom of King Street.
Alan went to help.
He came back 10 minutes later.
"Just an hysterical woman who has drunk too much," he said.
"She's back on her feet now."
Eventually they set off with the patient.
His brother made a point of thanking both Jenny and Alan when they arrived at HRI.
And he meant it.
Police were already at Accident and Emergency for the third time that night.
They had taken someone outside and handcuffed them.
So, another normal Friday night.
The final job was to help a woman who had been attacked by her partner. He had fled, leaving her badly shaken but physically unharmed.
"He's done it before, but never as bad as this," she said.
In all the trauma the crews face every day perhaps it's the humour that keeps them going.
As we walked from the woman's house back to the ambulance after a 10-hour shift a man caught up alongside, his curiosity getting the better of him.
He said to Alan: "What you got then, mate. A heart attack?"
"No, I'm fine thanks," said Alan straight-faced. "Merry Christmas!"