Mario Mike: you probably dealt with a few of these folks in your career: what do you think?
I remember the shut-ins, the hoarders, people isolated with no social support, as well as the "NFA's" ( No Fixed Address ). As to what percentage had served in the military, it wasn't part of our assessment to ask.
As to why
they lived that way, we left that to the social workers.
All we knew was that the challenges they presented were sometimes overwhelming.
Going into the camps in the ravines you always went in loud - because there was a concern they might have traps.
Many had dogs. We didn't like it, but sometimes we brought them along as well. We let them smoke too. We also brought their bags of stuff with them.
It was a waste of time arguing about the rules. Better to bend a little and hope for a fast and quiet trip than later have to explain to the Coroner why we cancelled ourselves off the call.
Some guys used to lecture them about taking the ambulance away from "someone who might really need us".
You never knew how they were going to react. Many were docile. Others very agitated.
Even in such a big city, because there were so many "frequent flyers" you got to know some of them. One old guy used to tell us stories about sailing all over the world with the Merchant Marine. One night he was hit
and killed by a drunk driver. When we wheeled him in to the ER the nurses started to cry because they had become so fond of him. They usually said, "Why did you bring him to OUR emerg? Was XXX closed?!"
Something the Department started a couple of years before I retired was sending Community Paramedics to check on individuals as an extension to our emergency service.