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Bode Miller / Tragic

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Such a damn shame. I cannot imagine loosing a child. 

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Saw that last night. I have no words to express the sorrow the Bodies must be experiencing. May they find peace soon. :(

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Truly horrific, I can't imagine losing a child, no matter the age.

 

On another note why in the hell do people want to listen to 911 recordings of tragedies like this. 

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It is so very sad, our hearts ache for them. Something that scares every parent, a child around water.

I'm headed off to the US Ski Team Partner Summit in fifteen minutes and I can only imagine the vibe will be subdued.

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12 minutes ago, bmiller said:

On another note why in the hell do people want to listen to 911 recordings of tragedies like this. 

I've never really understood that but I think our perspective comes from years of living those things. I think the average person is just curious about how it all worked. Now.....don't get me started on car wreck gawkers............especially those who pull over and walk back to the wreck so they can look around.

BTW - I know the dispatcher....pretty shook up. Everybody carries bad memories from these things. Buddy of mine was a BC who was just around the corner from a pool drowning so when he heard it on the radio he whipped in well ahead of the engine and medics and found three kids under age 3 still in the pool all in cardiac arrest. None of them made it. He went off duty and never came back.....he retired..........

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very sad. I can't imagine how they feel. 

I know pool fences are ugly, but it could have prevented this accident. my wife refused to move into our house until the pool fence was installed.

 

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I don't watch TV news.  WTF happened?????

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Shit!  Time to ban pools.  

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1 hour ago, derelicte said:

his 19 month old daughter drowned in their pool.

Not theirs, The neighbors.  They were at a party.  

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3 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Shit!  Time to ban pools.  

You just can't help yourself,  can you ?

 

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4 minutes ago, Great Red Shark said:

You just can't help yourself,  can you ?

Hese beene condittioned by hearer, be gentelle.                        :) 

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I hear about nightmares like this, I can't even understand the strength of parents to be able to continue to stay together. In this case, she is supposedly pregnant, but still ... many relationships can barely survive the stress of improper dishwasher loading, let alone something of this magnitude. You have to stay alive for your children, but surely, death seems an easier escape from the daily self-induced torture.

I'm still haunted by one of Point's posts several years ago about parents accidentally backing up over a child. How in the world can an emotionally healthy person manage to drag himself out of bed each morning after that?

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10 minutes ago, mikewof said:

I hear about nightmares like this, I can't even understand the strength of parents to be able to continue to stay together. In this case, she is supposedly pregnant, but still ... many relationships can barely survive the stress of improper dishwasher loading, let alone something of this magnitude. You have to stay alive for your children, but surely, death seems an easier escape from the daily self-induced torture.

I'm still haunted by one of Point's posts several years ago about parents accidentally backing up over a child. How in the world can an emotionally healthy person manage to drag himself out of bed each morning after that?

I dointe meane to be crasse ore callouse butte "self-induced torture" ist life. You by in withe you bloode, sweatte, and teares.  A gifte withe no promisses.  I adgree withe you. yhe paine mustte be dibilitatting.  I halve notheng butte feare an hope foure them.  I feare thay wointe overcom eythe sorrowe, and hope they wille.

:) 

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Once again Mikey’s point is well founded. I know from working for years on our local and statewide childhood drowning prevention program (award winning by the way) that a shocking number of marriages (@20%) do not survive a childhood drowning. I have heard that the experiance in other types of childhood deaths is similar. It’s an unbelievable challenge to overcome, especially if one of the parents was solely responsible for the child at the time of the drowning. As a medic, I responded to one where the grandparents were babysitting the child while the parents were out and the child drowned in the grandparents pool. Imagine the dynamics of that one.........

A side story, when Mrs PB was working (firefighter/paramedic for 28 years) she responded to a child Home pool drowning. Dad was watching the kids at home and the little boy was found in the pool. Mrs PB and her partner successfully resuscitated the child and transported him in critical condition to the ER........where his mother was working as an ER nurse and didn’t know till Mrs PB and her partner came through the doors still bagging the unconscious little boy. Imagine that. Well, happy ending, he recovered with no residual problems. They formed a very tight bond with Mrs PB and had her over for a BBQ on each of his birthdays. He is in college now.

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59 minutes ago, Point Break said:

[snip]...

A side story, when Mrs PB was working (firefighter/paramedic for 28 years) she responded to a child Home pool drowning. Dad was watching the kids at home and the little boy was found in the pool. Mrs PB and her partner successfully resuscitated the child and transported him in critical condition to the ER........where his mother was working as an ER nurse and didn’t know till Mrs PB and her partner came through the doors still bagging the unconscious little boy. Imagine that. Well, happy ending, he recovered with no residual problems. They formed a very tight bond with Mrs PB and had her over for a BBQ on each of his birthdays. He is in college now.

guess you need the good stories like that to keep doing that job huh

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6 minutes ago, mustang__1 said:

guess you need the good stories like that to keep doing that job huh

Yes, those fill the cup back up again.

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5 hours ago, Point Break said:
5 hours ago, mustang__1 said:

guess you need the good stories like that to keep doing that job huh

Yes, those fill the cup back up again.

PB, get started on that book!  I'd like to read some of the stories before I die.

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Parenting is damn hard. Some kids survive despite miserably neglectful parenting.  Others die despite 99.9% great parenting.  

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11 hours ago, mustang__1 said:

guess you need the good stories like that to keep doing that job huh

I was just thinking of another Mrs PB moment. Long ago she delivered a baby in a poor part of town. (I teased her for years that she had 9 and I had 11 having won the contest. She refused to acknowledge any contest :lol:) It was a very difficult home birth by "hippie" parents gone terribly bad. Long story short she accomplished the delivery and the baby did well. Fast forward 14 years and its 2011. 10 years since 9/11. The media attention caused the little girl (now 14) to desire to meet Mrs PB. Seems she had been told her whole life that she was delivered by a "fire lady" who had saved her life. She told her parents she wanted to give Mrs PB a gift. So they contacted the department and in a bit of a miracle of record keeping, managed to identify Mrs PB as the paramedic who had delivered her and gave the station phone number to the family. They made contact and agreed to have dinner at the station the next week which Mrs PB cooked for them. We worked the same shift so I came by her station to have dinner with them as well. They had not changed much (according to Mrs PB), still the hippie bohemians. But before dinner the little girl girl presented Mrs PB with a quilt she had handmade for the occasion. So Mrs PB starts to cry, the little girl starts to cry and hugs her, and the parents are now crying. There was not a dry eye in the house. We had dinner (thankfully and unusually there were no calls during this period) and the little girl told Mrs PB everything about her life to date and all her hopes and dreams for her life going forward. Dinner was over and Mrs PB and I stood in the driveway of the station as they pulled away. Just then the bells went off and the engine had a call. Mrs PB looked at me with eyes glistening, kissed my cheek and off they went on the engine into the night siren and lights. 

She used that quilt on her bed at the station till she retired.

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We didn't get a house with a pool until our kids were past toddler stage and were both strong swimmers. Whenever we had a party though, the wife would hire lifeguards. As the host, you simply cannot trust parents to watch their own kids.

We also hired a kid from the local climbing gym to supervise our indoor rock climbing wall.

13 hours ago, Point Break said:

 

A side story, when Mrs PB was working (firefighter/paramedic for 28 years) she responded to a child Home pool drowning.

My longtime climbing partner was a fire captain in Odessa, TX. He met his wife, chief nurse at the local ER, because he kept bringing her customers.

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38 minutes ago, Cruisin Loser said:

We didn't get a house with a pool until our kids were past toddler stage and were both strong swimmers. Whenever we had a party though, the wife would hire lifeguards. As the host, you simply cannot trust parents to watch their own kids.

We also hired a kid from the local climbing gym to supervise our indoor rock climbing wall.

My longtime climbing partner was a fire captain in Odessa, TX. He met his wife, chief nurse at the local ER, because he kept bringing her customers.

....might want to find a new climbing partner....

1 hour ago, Point Break said:

I was just thinking of another Mrs PB moment. Long ago she delivered a baby in a poor part of town. (I teased her for years that she had 9 and I had 11 having won the contest. She refused to acknowledge any contest :lol:) It was a very difficult home birth by "hippie" parents gone terribly bad. Long story short she accomplished the delivery and the baby did well. Fast forward 14 years and its 2011. 10 years since 9/11. The media attention caused the little girl (now 14) to desire to meet Mrs PB. Seems she had been told her whole life that she was delivered by a "fire lady" who had saved her life. She told her parents she wanted to give Mrs PB a gift. So they contacted the department and in a bit of a miracle of record keeping, managed to identify Mrs PB as the paramedic who had delivered her and gave the station phone number to the family. They made contact and agreed to have dinner at the station the next week which Mrs PB cooked for them. We worked the same shift so I came by her station to have dinner with them as well. They had not changed much (according to Mrs PB), still the hippie bohemians. But before dinner the little girl girl presented Mrs PB with a quilt she had handmade for the occasion. So Mrs PB starts to cry, the little girl starts to cry and hugs her, and the parents are now crying. There was not a dry eye in the house. We had dinner (thankfully and unusually there were no calls during this period) and the little girl told Mrs PB everything about her life to date and all her hopes and dreams for her life going forward. Dinner was over and Mrs PB and I stood in the driveway of the station as they pulled away. Just then the bells went off and the engine had a call. Mrs PB looked at me with eyes glistening, kissed my cheek and off they went on the engine into the night siren and lights. 

She used that quilt on her bed at the station till she retired.

dude... stop making me cry at work. Write the book so i can cry at home like a normal functioning adult. 

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22 minutes ago, Cruisin Loser said:

We didn't get a house with a pool until our kids were past toddler stage and were both strong swimmers. Whenever we had a party though, the wife would hire lifeguards. As the host, you simply cannot trust parents to watch their own kids.

We also hired a kid from the local climbing gym to supervise our indoor rock climbing wall.

My longtime climbing partner was a fire captain in Odessa, TX. He met his wife, chief nurse at the local ER, because he kept bringing her customers.

Given our aquatic lifestyle, we were very diligent about making our children AND grandchildren water safe as soon as possible although it was a natural byproduct of the manner of our existence. Still......it was worrisome till they became experts in the water which is a long way from simply water safe. It varied from child to child but expert didn't happen until around 6-8 or so.

And yes....the development of the paramedic program brought a lot of firefighters into contact with a lot of nurses with predictable results. And, in direct contravention of the wise admonition to not get one's "P's mixed up" Mrs PB and I met at work as well.........fortunately we were a success story in that regard.

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I was a firm believer in 'Drownproofing' my two daughters since both were raised from birth as liveaboards in the Virgin Islands. 

Good primer here on the technique.

 

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9 hours ago, Shootist Jeff said:

PB, get started on that book!  I'd like to read some of the stories before I die.

 

2 hours ago, mustang__1 said:

dude... stop making me cry at work. Write the book so i can cry at home like a normal functioning adult. 

I am writing off and on. Mostly for me and my kids as a memory passalong kinda thing. I don't know that I'm that good a writer though. Writing with the notion of making it interesting for other people is a challenge. Here is a draft chapter. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. Tell me what you think, I'm not sensitive.

 

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1 hour ago, Point Break said:

Oooops...here you go.

The Account.pdf

Linky no worky :(

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Weird, I attached it to the post as a PDF file using the “Click to choose file” in the reply template. I assume it now lives on the SA server? It’s not a remote link.......it comes up for me, but perhaps since I posted it?  Lemme tinker....

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27 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

Linky no worky :(

What does it say when you click it?

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1 hour ago, Point Break said:

What does it say when you click it?

Sorry, there is a problem

This attachment is not available. It may have been removed or the person who shared it may not have permission to share it to this location.

Error code: 2C171/1

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3 minutes ago, Cement_Shoes said:

Sorry, there is a problem

This attachment is not available. It may have been removed or the person who shared it may not have permission to share it to this location.

Error code: 2C171/1

Wonder why..........

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Oh well. Other than attach as a picture which doesn't seem practical, I got nothing. Can't find any help in FAQ's or even find the supposed "help" section.

 

Guess ya'll will have to wait for the book.................:lol:

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Oh wait.......it'll be long.......but........here you go............

The Account

 

The station alarm tones activated the radio speaker on the overhead PA system. “Rescue 9, Engine 43, vehicle versus pedestrian, 184 south Baker street. Small child reported by caller not breathing. 11:13 hours”. I dropped the mop I was using to clean the bathroom floor and quickly washed my hands before sliding the fire pole from the second story to the apparatus room floor. The three bays were occupied by an Engine Company, a Ladder Truck and the Rescue/Ambulance. Only the Rescue would be making the run from this station as the call was in another stations first due response district. The bay door was up and the Rescue was already running with lights turning and my partner sitting in the driver seat pulling the run map. I tossed on my uniform shirt from where it was hung on the passenger side mirror and hopped into the passenger seat taking over finding the run map. I transmitted “Rescue 9 enroute” on the radio and we swung into traffic and turned on the siren. Over the radio we hear “Rescue 9, Engine 43, you will probably get there first, we are coming from the far end of our district.” I answered “Rescue 9 copy”.

 

Bob and I had been paramedic partners for 3 years and knew each other well. Bob was a tall thin guy with red/blond hair and wore glasses. Blind as a bat without them. He was very much a “weeds and seeds” guy and in fact we all called him “granola” around the station instead of “Bob”, named after the ubiquitous bowl of cereal he had with him 24 hours a day with the very irritating habit of leaving half eaten bowls around the station and in the Rescue. Exact opposite of my shorter stocky stature, love of red meat and anything covered in chocolate. But when it came to calls, we had developed that 6th sense of each others actions that we didn’t have to talk very much and were able to work pretty effectively as a team. This was especially helpful on critical calls when there was always so much to do.

 

Since I was the “patientman" that day I was riding shotgun, talking on the vehicle radio and reading the response map to route us into the call and performing the patient assessment and care. Bob was “radioman” that day which meant he would be interviewing family and witnesses at the scene for medical and incident history, communicating information on the biometric radio (affectionately called the “Orange Box”) to the Emergency Room Radio Nurse and ER Physician. He would also be responsible for documenting the patient condition and care/drugs we provided on the patient care record and driving the Rescue. When things were really tough the radioman would chip in and help the patient man with patient care. We traded roles each shift so neither of us was over burdened with the seemingly endless patient and department run reports and we both kept our assessment and treatment skills sharp.

 

In about five minutes the response route turned off the main road onto residential streets so we killed the siren and ran with just lights. After just a few years you really get tired of sitting under that siren and all that noise. Even wearing ear protection while running code it was obnoxious and we turned it off whenever traffic allowed. As we turned onto Baker there was no need to look at the street addresses because we could see up the street ahead a car stopped in the middle of the road and a crowd gathered around the scene waving urgently at us. Bob pulled the rig just past the car and stopped as I advised dispatch we had arrived with a brief radio transmission “Rescue 9 on scene”.

 

As I exited the the Rescue on the side where the car was I was immediately aware of a woman collapsed on the grass next to the street crying and sobbing uncontrollably but did not appear injured. Later I understood she was the driver of the car. I pulled my trauma box from the rig and headed over where most of the crowd was gathered and shouting for me to hurry. As I approached the crowd parted and revealed a young woman in her late 20’s or early 30’s kneeling with her legs folded back underneath her in the grass next to the street. Her hair was blood streaked, and her face and clothes were smeared with blood. In her lap she cradled the limp form of her 4 year old daughter upon whom she had been trying ineffectually to perform mouth to mouth. As I neared her she looked up at me and our eyes locked. She held the little girl out to me with both arms and said weakly “help”. I could hear the Engine Company pull up and set the air brakes. As I took the little girl from her mother and looked down at her I could see the terrible extent of her injuries. Her little “twirlie” dress was marked with tire rubber and grease. She had one little white sock and shiny black leather shoe still on one foot and none on the other foot. Her legs were full of abrasions. Her face was a mess. Open fracture of the jaw, depressed cheek bone and multiple nasty lacerations on her head bleeding profusely. One arm was angled wrong mid upper arm and she was making little ineffective efforts to breath her chest heaving. She was in deep trouble. I made the decision we were gonna run for the hospital and do what we could enroute. She didn’t need a paramedic…..she needed a trauma team. I started for the Rescue and met Bob coming around from the driver side of the Rescue. He said that witnesses told him the girl went under the front bumper, around in the wheel well and spit out the side before the car stopped. He took one look and knew where I was heading. He grabbed my trauma box and said to the engine Captain “we need a driver”.

 

With just two paramedics on the Rescue Ambulance most often we had the radioman drive to the hospital while the patientman cared for the patient in the back on the way. With really critical patients where both paramedics would be needed in the back for patient care on the way to the hospital we took the firefighter off the engine as our driver and brought him back to his station in the Rescue after the call. Bob and I jumped into the back and I laid her on the gurney positioning myself on the floor on my knees at her head. The doors slammed shut, the engine firefighter jumped into the drivers seat and we pulled away code 3 to the hospital. We had been at the scene perhaps 2 minutes and now we were 12 minutes away from the ER and a full trauma team and surgical suite with just Bob and I in the back of the ambulance leaning through curves and slowing/accelerating at intersections and the incessant wailing noise of the siren over our heads.

 

The Rescue was pretty new, only about two years old. I loved that thing. The department was changing our Rescue Ambulances from the old Type 2 which was like a hightop van on a van chassis to a Type 1 Rescue Ambulance which was the bigger square patient compartment mounted on a truck chassis. What a beast. We affectionately called it “The Box”. I cleaned it, I waxed it, I slicked black the tires, made sure the oil and fluid levels were good. Did minor mechanical repairs as needed. I arranged all the equipment just how I liked it inside and checked the drugs each day making sure they were in their place in the proper storage compartment and ensuring none of the drugs were close to expiration date with the soonest expiration date arranged in front of the others. I checked the two breathing apparatus carried in the outside compartment to be sure they were ready for firefighting. In short….it was gonna be exactly how I liked it and I knew exactly where everything was when things were going pear shaped. One of the crew at our station was a Hispanic kid and one day he called me “Consuela” in reference to my incessant housekeeping on the rig. The crews loved it and the name stuck……….I still get called Consuela by members of that crew even 40 years later. Bob was exactly the opposite and would have to open every compartment looking for something because he couldn’t remember where anything was. Yank open - Not find it, say “shit”, slam shut and move to next one. Open, “Shit”, Slam..…Open, “Shit”, Slam..…repeated for every compartment on the rig because what he needed was always in the last one. Sometimes he would just say “Consuela, where are the oxygen cannulas!?”. We were a great team.

 

I started to work trying to clear her airway while Bob cut the little “twirly” dress off her. He said “I’ll call in the code trauma and then help you”. Now that her dress was off, I could see as she tried to breath her little chest wall moved in opposite direction on one side indicating a big flail chest . A flail chest is where an entire section of ribs on one side was detached and free floating sucking inward instead of expanding when she tried to breath in and extending outward instead of in when she tried to exhale. Her nail beds were getting blue from cyanosis because she could not breath effectively and her respiratory effort was becoming weaker. I couldn’t get her airway clear. Pieces of bone and teeth and clots were free floating and each time I suctioned it out more would take its place. Her face was unstable from the fractures so it was really hard to get her jaw forward enough to create an open airway. I was afraid to move her neck much fearing a cervical fracture even though it got moved plenty by Mom and getting her to the Rescue in such a hurry but since I couldn't get the airway clear I needed to do something. Bob called the ER on the Orange Box and advised we were enroute with a pediatric code trauma from a vehicle versus pedestrian. He said he didn’t have time to give a full radio package because the patient was in extremis and we were having trouble establishing an airway. He flipped the radio onto VOX and tossed the handset into the cradle. This left our side of the two way communication open and the radio nurse could hear us talking and working and still transmit her side we could hear. All we had to do was shout at the box with no need to push to talk.

 

Code Trauma once called by the paramedics sets an impressive machine in motion at the hospital. They open the trauma cart in the trauma room which is left sealed with all the necessary supplies to treat and resuscitate a trauma code. They page the Trauma Surgeon to the ER, they get an OR team and Anesthesiologist enroute to the hospital if they are not already there, in this case because it was a child they also paged a Pediatric Intensivist Doc to the ER. It also includes a Respiratory Therapist, a Lab Tech, an Xray Tech with mobile Xray, a couple ER Nurses and an ER Tech. It is a impressive team ready for a full court press.

 

After a few minutes of this work, her eyes were open staring and her pupils were dilated and not reacting very much to the bright overhead lights in the Rescue. A sign she was desperately in need of getting oxygen to her lungs. Her EKG still showed a viable rhythm and she still had weak pulses. I said “Bob…I can’t get her airway clear and I think she has stopped breathing. I need help”. Bob leaned in and tried to manipulate/tilt her neck a little looking for an open airway while I continued to suction her. Finally I thought I had cleared the airway and put a positive pressure valve and mask on her face while Bob held the head steady and I gave her a little ventilation. Her chest wall moved so I knew we had finally got a patent airway. The Radio Nurse said over the radio “Do you think you can get a line?”. I shouted at the box “No. its taking both of us to get her ventilated, we’ll never get an IV”! On came the ER Doc’s voice. “Do you want to try a needle crike?”  He was talking about a Needle Cricothyrotomy. On an adult this is where you find the Cricoid Cartilage on the front of the neck and feel around till you find the little indentation which is a membrane through which you insert a large needle into the trachea thus bypassing any blockage above it and ventilate the patient through the needle cannula. We had been trained and I had done it on adults but it was not approved for children by paramedics. The Doc was asking if we wanted to try it he would give us permission and instructions over the radio. I looked at Bob and he shook his head. I agreed. I shouted back, “no we’re almost at your doors and the anatomy is just to small for me to tell in the moving ambulance. We’re getting a little air in her and we’ll see you in a minute or two”. “okay” he said and was gone.

 

A minute later the Rescue stopped and began to back up with the backup beeper the only sound. The rig stopped and the rear doors flew open with a Nurse and ER Tech gowned up in green paper gowns and our driver getting ready to pull out the gurney. Bob & I continued our airway efforts as the gurney was rolled down the hallway to the trauma room. We turned the corner into the crowded brightly lit room and transferred the care to the team. A quick briefing, a couple questions from the ER Doc and Trauma Surgeon and we were done. I stepped back covered in blood and tissue and watched as an entire room full of heroes and angels continued the work Bob and I had begun just the two of us in the back of a moving ambulance. We stood for a minute or two and watched. The team passed us our equipment as they replaced it with theirs and we headed out to the ambulance bay to put the rig back together for the next run. The back of the rig looked like a blood bomb had gone off as it always did after a critical trauma call. Wash the gear and disinfect it. Put it back where it lives. Mop the floor of the ambulance and wipe down the walls and the bench seat. Wipe down the gurney and disinfect it. Toss the bloody suction tube and tonsil tip in the bio hazard trash. Empty the wall suction container of blood, teeth and bone, wash and disinfect it. Put it back together for the next call. Clean and disinfect the Ambu Bag, put it back together and stow it for the next call. Finish the patient care report and leave two copies in the ER for their records. Take off my shirt and put it in a plastic bag to go back to the station and launder it. 20-30 minutes and we’re done. As we are ready to leave, I walk back into the ER and down to the trauma room. It looks like a bomb went off in there as well. I look at the trauma nurse getting ready to put it all together again and she looks at me and shakes her head no. I look down at the floor and notice in the laces of my boot is a tiny tooth.

 

Mostly quiet ride back to the station. First we drop off the firefighter we grabbed from Engine 43 at his station then back to ours. On the way we discussed the call and everything we did and what each of us was thinking. Anything we could have done different. Something we overlooked. Should we have tried the crike? We debriefed ourselves like this after every critical call. Its a good way to shake off the call and focus on anything we could do better next time. We back into the bay at the station, the backing beeper the only sound. From the time we pulled out till we backed in was only about an hour. But what an hour. Bob heads off to whatever he was doing when the call came in and I head upstairs to finish my cleanup in the bathroom. The mop and bucket were gone and the engine or truck crew has finished my work. I almost would rather they hadn’t, because I could use a little menial distraction. So I head downstairs to the medic office and call home. I ask my wife to bring the kids to the station if she isn’t too busy. She could usually tell. Sure, she says. 30 minutes later I’m sitting in the dayroom with my 6 year old daughter on my lap and my son crawling around the room ripping up newspapers and magazines and trying to eat them. My daughter leans against me and says “bad call Daddy?”. I said yes and get a hug in return. She doesn’t really understand any details, I don't think she even knows what a “call” is, she just knows that sometimes mommy asks me that and I say yes and then I’m sad. Hugs are supposed to make it better in her world. They didn’t hurt.

 

We are interrupted by the alarm again. It was a easy routine chest pain call that went well and we took the patient to the hospital. The trauma room was all clean, cart sealed waiting for the next trauma call. Nurses and Doctors busy bustling from room to room taking care of patients. No evidence of the prior events. It strikes me suddenly as odd how everything just goes on.

 

Back at the station I’m feeling really bothered. More than usual. I’m thinking about a conversation I had with my evaluator one night while in paramedic training. We were sitting at the station and talk got around to how long he had been a medic and how much longer he intended to remain one. He said he thought we all had an emotional “account” and over the course of your experience every bad thing deposits a little emotional toil into that account. Eventually one day the account is full. And you’re done. Nobody but you knows when that will be. Then you promote out or ride the engine instead. I pondered all that afternoon if my account was indeed full.

 

After dinner that evening, dishes done and everyone relaxing in front of the TV or studying or reading in their bunks. Around 9pm the alarm goes off and the radio speaker says “Rescue 9 Engine 38 childbirth in the agricultural field at Strawberry Farms 1344 Strawberry Way. 2110 hours”. Into the rescue we go and pull out of the station into the night with a drizzle making the roads slightly wet. While still enroute Engine 38 comes on the radio and advises they are at the scene and trying to locate the patient. They have been contacted by a Spanish speaking individual who is indicating they need to go out into the strawberry field and they will follow. We turned into the access road which became dirt and is now a little muddy and we see the engine parked off to one side as our headlights sweep across the entrance. As we arrive we are advised on the radio that Engine 38 has located the patient who is a woman who appears to be in her 20’s and they have a language barrier but she is clearly in labor and the engine Captain is headed back to the road to lead us in. I ask the Captain on the radio if we can get the Rescue down the road and he advises maybe but is worried if we get stuck we’ll completely block the access. We pull the Rescue off to the side and see the bouncing light of the Captains flashlight as he hurries down the road toward us in the pitch back of the drizzling night. We toss on our yellow firefighting turnout coats to give us a little protection from the drizzle, grab our gear and an OB kit and the Captain comes up to us. I can see things are not good from the look on his face. “The baby is mostly out” he says, “but the head is stuck or something and it won’t come any further. The crew is trying to help but things are going south pretty quickly”. He grabs my drug box from me and without another word turns and starts to jog back up the road. I looked at my partner with wide eyes………..I had never seen this guy jog at any call…….ever. We jogged after him into the wet darkness.

 

After about 3 minutes we came to a spot where he turned off the dirt road and started up a row between strawberry plants. We could see ahead a flashlight or two and after about 30 seconds we got there and the Captain stepped aside. There on her back on a canvas tarp was a young woman. Three field workers were holding a plastic tarp over her to shield her from the rain. Her jet black hair was wet and matted and her face had spots of mud streaked by sweat or water running down. The crew stepped back extremely happy to give the ball to us and I saw the problem. A baby, completely blue had almost completely delivered except the head. The head was tucked up into the birth canal and all I could see was the neck and base of the skull. The umbilical cord……the baby’s lifeline of oxygenated blood from the placenta was compressed between the baby's head and the wall of the birth canal. I had delivered several babies already and got there just after the delivery of a few others but I had never faced this fairly rare complication before…..or really any complication before. I knew what my training said to do but had never done it or seen it done, but I was all she had. I had the crew shine a flashlight over my shoulder onto the baby and got work.

 

I inserted my hand with two fingers over the baby's face into the birth canal while supporting the flaccid baby with my other arm. The idea - they taught us in school - was to form a “V” around the baby’s nose creating a pocket in which the baby could breath if it made any respiratory attempts. Seemed silly to me but it was the protocol. They stressed how critical it was to resist the urge to yank or pull the baby because we could easily break the small cervical spine and cut the spinal cord with too much manipulation. It seemed from my exam like the baby’s head was tilted back and the chin was hung up on the pelvic girdle. I didn’t have a clue how I was going to resolve that when all the sudden with the extra room my fingers provided the baby just plopped out followed by a big gush of blood and birth fluids. I had the baby on the tarp and it was completely flaccid making no movement or respiratory effort. With the cord still attached, I suctioned the airway with the tiny bulb syringe from the OB kit and lifted the baby to my face and gave it a couple quick breaths trying to stimulate the breathing. Nothing. I put my stethoscope on the chest. Nothing, no heartbeat. It was hard to hold the baby securely because he was still very slippery and covered with blood and birth fluids. I looked at my partner and said “we gotta go with this baby NOW”. My partner said “mom is losing blood and her BP is pretty low. It’ll take a while to get her packaged for transport and I should start an IV”. He said “You take the baby in the Rescue and I’ll call a back up transport unit while I get her IV started and let the hospital know you’re on the way”. I nodded and proceeded to quickly clamp and cut the cord, wipe down the still not breathing baby in a small towel from the kit and grabbed the firefighter to drive the Rescue. I tried not very effectively to do CPR and breathing on the baby cradled in one arm as I awkwardly walked back to the Rescue with the engine Firefighter lighting the way with his flashlight. The baby was so small that I held the head in the palm of my hand with the baby laying face up on my forearm with the legs on either side of my arm and the bottom up against my upper arm at the elbow. I jumped in the back with the baby and the firefighter shut the doors and jumped in the drivers seat. I laid the little thing on the clean sheets of the gurney and away we went, code 3 this time with me alone in the brightly lit back of the Rescue with another small fading life in my care. I alternately suctioned the airway and puffed air from my mouth into the tiny baby while compressing the chest with two fingers of my other hand. I thought I felt a pulse on the chest after a while, verified it with the stethoscope so I just continued mouth to mouth for the rest of the trip to the hospital….little tiny puffs of air from just my cheeks into a pair of tiny little lungs. I had put a nasal cannula on myself with the oxygen flowing in an attempt to increase the percentage of my puffs that would carry oxygen. In both and eternity and an instant we were backing into the ambulance bay at the ER. The rear doors flew open and once again a thousand angels took the baby from my care and ran into the ER. For a long time I just sat crosslegged on the floor in the back of the Rescue, my turnout coat wet with rain and smeared with blood and birth fluids. I thought….well…thats it, I get it, my account is full. I’m done.

 

I numbly washed up while the Engine Firefighter cleaned out the rig. In the evening drizzle I laid my turnout coat on the pavement in the ambulance bay outside the doors to the ER and used the hose to wash it off. I would have to stuff it wet into the outside compartment with the breathing apparatus for the ride back to the fire station. I didn’t use any drugs or other supplies so it was just the muddy floor and dirty sheets. As I came out of the washroom, the ER Doc walked up and put his hand on my damp shoulder. “Nice work” he said. I looked at him a bit puzzled. “The baby is pinking up nicely and breathing on his own when you arrived and seems in pretty good shape now. He is off to neonatal and time will tell but it looks optimistic to me.” I was still processing that news, when the paramedic radio alarm went off and I walked into the radio room in time to hear my partner tell the radio nurse that he had an IV started, the placenta had delivered, the bleeding seemed controlled and mom’s blood pressure was stable. They were on the way in. I sat down and smiled at the Nurse. She smiled back. Suddenly I understood. I wasn’t done. I understood that the baby….and his Mom….on that rainy cold night had just made a substantial withdrawal from my account.

 

 

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Take pre-publishing orders. then skip town!

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Hey PB, ever read any Michael Perry?  Good guy, pretty good writer, writes about his EMT/volunteer firefighter experiences in Population 485.  It's mostly about small town life, but a pretty good read.

I can't read your chapter.  Not because it was good or bad, but because I can't read about things like that happening to other people in too much detail.  It's ok if it's happening/happened to me, but for some reason I can't read it when it happens to others. 

Good luck with it, if you publish -- I'll my friends to read it and filter it for me.

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On 6/15/2018 at 2:31 PM, Point Break said:

Oh wait.......it'll be long.......but........here you go............

Don't be shy about publishing.  One pre-order here whenever you are ready....

As to the OP, biggest fear I (and I assume every parent) has ever had.  I still have nightmares about a close call.

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On 6/14/2018 at 9:35 PM, mikewof said:

I hear about nightmares like this, I can't even understand the strength of parents to be able to continue to stay together. In this case, she is supposedly pregnant, but still ... many relationships can barely survive the stress of improper dishwasher loading, let alone something of this magnitude. You have to stay alive for your children, but surely, death seems an easier escape from the daily self-induced torture.

I'm still haunted by one of Point's posts several years ago about parents accidentally backing up over a child. How in the world can an emotionally healthy person manage to drag himself out of bed each morning after that?

 

Heard a story some years back from the owner of the local BMW dealership.  Guys son was working underneath his new $70,000 sports car without proper jackstands or blocks, and he was killed by the car coming down on him.  Father sent the brand spanking new car off to be crushed.

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15 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

 Father sent the brand spanking new car off to be crushed.

'eye forre an eye'      - Matthiew -

 

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52 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

 

Heard a story some years back from the owner of the local BMW dealership.  Guys son was working underneath his new $70,000 sports car without proper jackstands or blocks, and he was killed by the car coming down on him.  Father sent the brand spanking new car off to be crushed.

You would be surprised how often "home mechanics" have their inadequately supported car or significant parts of their car fall on them or part of them. I've been to quite a few. Its frigging amazing what people think will be "okay" in supporting their car and then blithely crawl underneath and start wrenching/pounding/twisting shit.

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4 hours ago, Point Break said:

You would be surprised how often "home mechanics" have their inadequately supported car or significant parts of their car fall on them or part of them. I've been to quite a few. Its frigging amazing what people think will be "okay" in supporting their car and then blithely crawl underneath and start wrenching/pounding/twisting shit.

Mark Fidrych (Tigers pitcher from the mid-70s, the Bird) died from having his jacked up truck fall on him.  I own jack stands, leave the jack on, and am still nervous.  

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25 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

Mark Fidrych (Tigers pitcher from the mid-70s, the Bird) died from having his jacked up truck fall on him.  I own jack stands, leave the jack on, and am still nervous.  

Good call. I'm the same way. Nervous and careful equals alive. ;)

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On 6/15/2018 at 2:31 PM, Point Break said:

Oh wait.......it'll be long.......but........here you go............

The Account

Whoa.....that's some gnarly stuff right there.

My respect to you and your Fire Department brethren for the job(s) that you've chosen to do.

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Jeez PB, someone's chopping onions in the office here.

Personally, I like your style of writing; the situation, the facts, the actions and the personal impact.

Please, please, please keep them coming.

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9 hours ago, hobot said:

Whoa.....that's some gnarly stuff right there.

My respect to you and your Fire Department brethren for the job(s) that you've chosen to do.

 

Yes, seriously well written accounts, thanks PB!!!  Please tell us more! And thanks for all you did for others!!

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Posted (edited)
On 6/15/2018 at 10:14 AM, Point Break said:

I was just thinking of another Mrs PB moment. Long ago she delivered a baby in a poor part of town. (I teased her for years that she had 9 and I had 11 having won the contest. She refused to acknowledge any contest :lol:) It was a very difficult home birth by "hippie" parents gone terribly bad. Long story short she accomplished the delivery and the baby did well. Fast forward 14 years and its 2011. 10 years since 9/11. The media attention caused the little girl (now 14) to desire to meet Mrs PB. Seems she had been told her whole life that she was delivered by a "fire lady" who had saved her life. She told her parents she wanted to give Mrs PB a gift. So they contacted the department and in a bit of a miracle of record keeping, managed to identify Mrs PB as the paramedic who had delivered her and gave the station phone number to the family. They made contact and agreed to have dinner at the station the next week which Mrs PB cooked for them. We worked the same shift so I came by her station to have dinner with them as well. They had not changed much (according to Mrs PB), still the hippie bohemians. But before dinner the little girl girl presented Mrs PB with a quilt she had handmade for the occasion. So Mrs PB starts to cry, the little girl starts to cry and hugs her, and the parents are now crying. There was not a dry eye in the house. We had dinner (thankfully and unusually there were no calls during this period) and the little girl told Mrs PB everything about her life to date and all her hopes and dreams for her life going forward. Dinner was over and Mrs PB and I stood in the driveway of the station as they pulled away. Just then the bells went off and the engine had a call. Mrs PB looked at me with eyes glistening, kissed my cheek and off they went on the engine into the night siren and lights. 

She used that quilt on her bed at the station till she retired.

Wow. What a story. Worth the trip here just to read that! Thanks 

 

(Then I got the The Account...just Wow!)

Edited by wallcfa
read a later post

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