Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On Exposures (part 1)

I'm learning some new things about myself as I write for this blog. Just the other night I realized that I am apparently suppressing some of the more difficult memories I have acquired on some of the uglier or more trying jobs. A couple of nights ago I read this post over on the TPN Taxi and it reminded me of an incident that I haven't thought about in quite a while.
 We were banged out for a PIAA (Personal Injury Auto Accident) during a class being held at the station on a cold winter evening. There was, as I recall, about a foot of snow on the ground, but the roads were clear and mostly dry. The accident itself was bizarre, having started 10 miles away in town, as a road rage incident in a parking lot (2 cars damaged) then continued up the main drag into our district where the offending driver took out two more cars along the roadway as she made her 'escape'. She finally lost it and wound up high on a snow bank, 50 feet from the road. The carnage was spread out over about 2 miles. Most of the injuries were minor, but the culprit wrecked her car pretty good, and her presentation as well as the vehicle damage caused us to take full spinal precautions during extrication and treatment. We had crews working at 3 different locations along this stretch. I wound up on the crew working the offending party.
 Somehow, she was in the passenger side of the vehicle, but I noted no seat belt use and the car had traversed a lot of rough ground after it left the road. The patient was very uncooperative, leading us to believe she was a little altered. She was hysterical in every sense of the word. Blubbering, crying, screaming, fidgeting, pushing our hands away, and arguing. She fought us at every turn. Her breathing was rapid and shallow and we knew we were going to have a tough time if we couldn't calm her down. A firefighter who knew her tried to get her to recognize and focus on him so he could explain what we were doing, He tried, but it didn't work, she blew him off and started thrashing again. I took a shot and changed places with the Firefighter. Because the car, on this side, was hanging on the bank, in order for me to get close to the patient, I had to be held up from the back. The rocker panel on the passenger side was about 4 feet off the ground at this point. So I have an Officer behind and below me pushing on my back with both hands to keep me up there and I am holding onto the door as I try to work with this girl.
 "Mary, look, you've been in an accident. We are here to help you, but you need to work with us. The more you fight, the more you can get hurt.; Mary LOOK at ME! Focus on my face. I need you to breath just like I do and calm down. Everything is going to be OK. LOOK AT ME. Everybody is going to take good care of you but YOU have to calm down and let us help you." It started to work and she relaxed a little for just a few seconds, it gave me time to assess her facial injuries and figure out that the blood which covered her face was coming from superficial facial lacerations which were already beginning to stop flowing. Then it happened.
 She lost it and let out a burst of air with a cry and moan all at once. Blood, sweat, and saliva flew everywhere. I couldn't see for second or two. I turned to the Officer behind me and asked if I had blood on my face. "A little" he said, "Around the nose and eyes". "Great'!" I thought, "perfect aim".
 We finished the job and she fought us all the way, kicking at the back board, ripping off the collar, grabbing onto the door frame to stay in the car,  and generally making it dangerous for the rest of us. I wound up stepping into 2 feet of the coldest water I have ever felt as we carried her to the rig. After she was transported a zip lock bag full of pretty colored pills was discovered under the seat. We figured this is why she kept kicking and hooking her feet under the seat.
 As soon as she was in the rig, I beat feet and headed for the nearest washroom at a convenience store 2 miles away. I washed up, ran by the house and got dry clothes on, and went back to the station to finish class and report my exposure as per protocol to the exposure control Officer. We put the report in writing and called the hospital per procedure to report it and request a blood test. This is where it gets weird.
(To be concluded tomorrow in Part 2)

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