Thursday, January 28, 2010
I work EMS in the burbs for a private provider. My partner drives in from the country, needless to say he doesn't have a great deal of experience with the inner city culture. A couple of weeks ago we are taking a transport from the ER of a smaller community hospital to the ER of a major medical center in the inner city.
We arrive at the hospital and I tell my partner to make sure he locks the truck, reminding him of the story of my ambulance being stolen from the ambulance bay at a major hospital in the inner city a few years ago. I can tell he is a little uncomfortable with the crazies running around the ER. He looks at me and tells me to give report to the ER staff because I speak "their language". Now he didn't mean for it to sound racist, but the two black medics behind us didn't know that!
After tempers cool down we make our way back out of the ER. On our way out I notice a women sitting on the edge of the bed with blood oozing out of what looks like a gunshot wound in her lower leg. She is dripping blood all over the floor.
I decide to ask her how she got shot and she said it was her fault. I asked "what do you mean?". She informed me that she was shooting rats in her basement with a .22 cal pistol. That's right, shooting rats in her basement! Detroit rats can grow to be the size of a racoon. Only in Detroit does one shot rats in the basement for fun! She had dropped the pistol, when it hit the floor it discharged, shooting her in the leg. One thing about this job, I see something new every day! JS
Friday, January 15, 2010
As some of you know I get to dabble in police work from time to time. This call made me realize that I think like a Firefighter/EMT and not like a cop.
I open the door to the patrol car. I approach the wreck of mangled cars. As I approach the first car involved in this head on collision from the passenger side I notice that the car is running and both airbags have deployed. I glance over to the other car involved and see the driver has exited his car and looks to be OK. I open the passenger side door of the first car to see 4 young children as passengers and the driver still in the car. The oldest child, 9 years old, is riding in the front seat. His face is covered in blood. The driver and the other passengers seem to be shaken up, but OK. The 9 year old boy is scared and in pain, he can see all the blood out of his one good eye. My first thought is glove up. Then I realize I don't have gloves in the pocket of my trauma pants.... Why? Because I'm not wearing trauma pants. I yell for an officer to grab the first aid kit out of the trunk of the patrol car. He brings it over to me knowing that I know what to do for this child. I have Mom (driver) turn the car off and grab C-spine. I start dressing the wounds to the boys face and head. Something on my belt keeps hanging me up on the door while I'm trying to provide patient care. I look to my right hip to see what it is... Oh yea, its my gun, forgot that was there.
By now other police units have arrived on scene and I can hear the Q siren of the approaching fire rigs. Mom is a little freaked out looking at her son. While I'm waiting for fire to arrive I start talking to the boy about his dog, trying to keep his mind off of the pain and blood. I Then take C-spine from Mom as the Fire/Medics approach me. I give them report (After letting them know that I'm a firefighter/EMT). We collar and backboard the boy and load him into the rescue.
I take a step back, feeling sorry for our patients mother. I then realize that there is still another job to be done here. I quickly move to traffic control to allow the rescue to leave the scene and transport to the local trauma center.
Here is that part I don't like about police work. We arrive at the trauma center only a few minutes after the rescue. Make our way to the trauma room to find Mom. Her son is stable, he looked worse than he was. I find myself wanting to talk to Mom about her son and to offer my shoulder, but I can't. I must keep my distance. I'm keeping my distance because I'm not here to care for her son, I'm here to give her a traffic ticket. The wreck was her fault and as much as I didn't want to see her get a violation, it had to be done. It was at that moment I knew I liked Fire/EMS way better than law enforcement! JS
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
As I sit here listening to the Beatles I start thinking about god. I was raised Catholic and always thought of myself as a person of great faith even though as an adult I have not been very religious. Lately I have been questioning my faith. I asked my parents to join me at midnight mass this past Christmas. I was hoping this would help me find my faith. It did no such thing. If there is a god, I need him to answer some questions for me.
Lets start with the saying "God never gives someone more than they can handle." This is total bull shit! If this was true I would not have responded to great deal of suicides I have seen in my career. What is the learning lesson in a young mother cradling her lifeless baby on the side of the road. A baby that passed of SIDs while riding home in a car seat. Why couldn't I save this one, but I can always save the asshole that ODs on heroin? What about the child that is sexually abused by someone that is supposed to be a role model, If she survives her childhood she will never be able to have a healthy relationship as an adult. Where was god then?
Where was god when I saw the destruction from Katrina and Rita? All most of the people wanted at that time and place was clean drinking water, food, and shelter. This was more than some of these people could handle.
What about the many terminal cancer patients I have watched slowly die as they give every bit of fight they have in them for one more day here on earth... Where was god then? Where was god when my friend was forced to shoot and kill a child in combat to save his own life and the lives of the men he was serving with?
How do I find my faith again? I feel like there is hole in my life... No amount of preaching or church going will fill it. JS