Thursday, June 17, 2010

Can I really do this?…..Part 2

So if you’ve read the previous post you know of my self doubts when I started in this game. I’m sure you had yours also. I knew if I made it through the major cardiac job I was in pretty good shape, but I had never in all my experiences, an experience with a lot of blood. I had seen and worked with a severed finger or two, and back about 25 years ago I took a co-worker into the hospital that had opened up his arm with a spiral laceration that started above the elbow and ended at the tip of his pinky, (Funny, but we never thought of calling an ambulance, just wrapped him up and put him in my truck.) He was in surgery for 8 hours while they tried to repair the nerve damage followed by 6 months of rehab, but I digress.
All those jobs I handled as a layman had blood for sure, but none were the big bleeders. I had concerns that all that blood might be distracting enough to keep me from doing a proper job…..
It was a cool early spring evening, just around dusk as I was headed home from shopping in town. I heard the page go out for a Department in the town next to ours, the town I was in right now and it sounded bad. Car vs. Bicycle up on the four lane that I was just pulling onto. I had no choice but to pass the scene and I was ahead of all the responding apparatus. There was a Chief Officer just in front of me as I pulled into a parking lot 100 feet short of the scene. I grabbed my turnout coat and caught up with the Chief as he approached the scene. I identified myself and offered to lend a hand until his crew showed up and he accepted. The Medic unit pulled past us and got to the patient first. It was the call I dreaded. The pool of blood coming out from under the patient kept growing by the minute, definite multi-system trauma. It was a high speed hit and run. The Medic got busy quick as there were lots of people standing around and watching, but not being any help. The Medic’s EMT partner had the unmistakable ‘deer in the headlights’ look, He was freaked, no doubt, and he was useless to his Medic. I stooped down and asked the medic if I could lend a hand. He didn’t look up, he was too busy, he just asked “Do you know your CPR?”. “Sure”, I said. He nodded at the patients chest and just said “Show me”. I went to work and started to hit a rhythm with the medic, stopping when he tried to get the tube, putting some cric pressure on to try and help him, and verbally directing his EMT through the motions of getting a backboard in place and preparing for packaging. The Medic began to speak to me in low tones to let me know what he was thinking and what was coming next. He knew I could hear him and get ready or think ahead and make sure he got what he needed. He wanted to get the patient off the road and into the rig where he had lights, it was now full dark. We could not kneel on the ground to work on this patient because it was just one big puddle of blood. We boarded the patient quickly, and moved him to the stretcher in almost one move. Then up and into the rig as others grabbed the gear and piled it into the side door. The last thing I did was ask the EMT if he was “OK” to drive, he looked at me like I had insulted him, but didn’t say a word, just climbed in the cab and turned the rig around and headed out.
And it was over, just like that. My total time on scene could not have been more than 6 minutes. I spoke to the Chief and asked if I could do anything else even though I knew the answer. He said “No, but thanks, appreciate the extra hands and those are good ones you’ve got there.” I left the scene and got back in my truck and waited in the traffic like everyone else. I never saw that EMT again, but I see that Medic regularly although that was the first night I worked with him. He has taught me a lot over the years and I love working a job with him. He’s one of the best I’ve ever worked with. In all the calls we’ve worked, I never discussed that first call with him. I guess I knew all that I needed to know. I answered my own question and never worried about it again.

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