Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The calls that make you question doing this job

If you've been an EMT, Medic, Firefighter, Police Officer, or even Dispatcher, for any amount of time, you're already starting to sympathize with me. You've been to or taken the calls that make you look deep down inside and ask yourself why?

Why do we do this job?

Why do some calls have to hurt, when other calls can be shrugged, or even laughed, off?

Why can't we just move on?

Why don't people watch over and take better care of their children?

Why did she have to die?

Why wasn't there anything we could've done?

Why didn't the driver show the slightest hint of emotion, or remorse?

Why can't I get the image out of my head???

Last night, a 21 month old little girl was run over by a truck and died (probably instantly). She could have been inside the best hospital when it happened, and still wouldn't have been able to survive.

1 momentary lack of focus on your surroundings, 1 moment of inattentiveness, 1 distraction, 1 child that will never see her 2nd birthday.

We stayed onscene to keep an eye on mom. At one point, she was hyperventilating and we were told she nearly passed out. Once the media started arriving, she was moved to the backseat of one of the patrol cars, along with 2 other people who were trying to keep her calm.

It took a while for the medical examiner and traffic specialist units to arrive and take all the necessary photos, and mark everything with spraypaint. Once they were ready, we held up tarps and sheets to create a privacy zone around the child so the pictures of her could be taken without the media, or anyone else catching a glimpse.

They finally wrapped her in a sheet and placed her into the body bag. The medical examiner chose to put her in the backseat of his car, and somewhat sneak off the scene. It beat waiting on the ME's van to get there, and he was able to pull his car into the crime scene so close, I'm not even sure anyone noticed the child being put into the car.

Once we finally cleared the scene, everyone met for a quick, 15 minute debrief. We will all attend a 2-3 hour CISD meeting next shift.

As we were headed back to our own station, we were sent to another call. The female was roughly 3 months pregnant, and had a miscarriage into the toilet. Unfortunately for us, the hospital needs to look through everything to make sure no part of the placenta is left inside mom, or she could become extremely sick.

We used what we had, which turned out to be the bag that a sterile burn sheet comes sealed in. Everything was collected and transported with the mom to the hospital.

We all deal with things in different ways. Some drink, some paint, some smoke. I guess I'm fortunate not to have children right now. I slept, and now I'm writing. Sleep did not come easy, but at least there weren't any nightmares, for now. I've never claimed to be a good writer, but these are my stories through my eyes.

If you have kids, be thankful for every moment. You never know how many more moments, good or bad, you will have. And give them a hug for me.

So, in the end, why do we do this job?

Like it or not, admit it or deny it, we love this job. Why else would we put up with the people and the pay if we didn't?


Ambulance Mommy said...

we do this job because after days like that....we keep on going.

and then if we can just keep going, we have days where we CAN make a difference. Where its not all bad things. Where we reunite another little child with their parents, or where we save a grandfather of 4 from a major MI.

we do it for the days when someone smiles at us, and says "thank you, you're a lifesaver"

medicblog999 said...


Im sorry you had to witness this. We all know that a job of this magnitude may just be around the corner, but I think we all hope that we wont have to deal with it, but if it does happen then we do deal with it!

Im sure you have good support from your colleagues over there, but feel free to take a hug from me over in the UK!

Take care.

Big Show said...

just came across your blog by accident. Had the same thing happen to me twice, the second time I almost lost my faith in the system. Then I went on a few more calls, and I realized, there is no other feeling like running Code-3 to a call, getting out of the truck, running up to someone's nightmare, and turning it into a happy ending.