Volunteering as an EMT for the local Ambulance Squad in rural Pennsylvania provided me with so many experiences and memories. Some good and as expected some not so good. Every call I went on gave me a different appreciation of life in general and more importantly about how to live my life. I want to go back to my memories and bring them here (label: meat wagon) without providing any confidential information and I’ll preamble my postings with a “good” or “not good” call to protect my readers from any adverse effects they might have from reading descriptive blood scenes, weird appendage angulations, brains and sad endings.
So let’s start with a good call.
Saturday’s were my normal shift duty. I usually ran a double starting at 6AM and if we were lucky we’d be leaving the building right when the night shift came on at 6PM and calling it a day. It was a Saturday afternoon when the tones went off and the dispatcher’s steady voice came over our pagers as a “10-45, single car, roll over” on a local four lane highway. I was the crew chief over a driver, another EMT and a First Responder. My crew immediately jumped into our ambulance and went 10-8, responding to call.
Approaching the scene in the ambulance I saw the car all bashed up from the roll over and people and other cars had stopped to assist. On scene now my crew quickly found our patient. He was walking around, alert and was refusing to go to the hospital to get checked out. I made the assessment of him, tried to talk him into going to the hospital, he continued to refuse so I had a crew member do the sign off paperwork. In my mind the call was over. Right? Wrong!
In the grass medium I noticed 4 women sitting on the grass. When I approached them I saw there was a large furry creature in the middle of the circle of women. As I got closer to them I could see the German Sheppard on his side on the ground and breathing. The driver of the car walked over and told me that was his dog and that he had gotten thrown from the vehicle when it rolled. I asked him what he was going to do. He said he was trying to get a hold of someone for a ride.
One of the major roles of the crew chief is making decisions and being the person responsible for everything including the patient, the care given to the patient, scene control, the crew, the equipment and the ambulance. There I stood; looking at the dog then looking at my crew whose eyes were all on me. What I was about to do could get me kicked out of the Corp. because I was going to go against all the written Rules and Regulations on the books. I quickly conferred with the crew of what I decided, they all happily agreed with me and then I went to the dog’s owner and asked him if we could take his dog to a local vet. The guy was ecstatic and my crew went to work.
We carefully rolled then strapped Sheppard onto a long board, I hopped in the ambulance to guide the board onto stretcher and when I looked out the back of the ambulance there were four people on each side of the board with two of the people being PA State Troopers lifting and handing the board over to me. That picture will forever be ingrained in my head.
My ambulance Driver called ahead from the land line (phone) to the Vet to let him know we were bringing in an injured dog. I told my Driver, run with no sirens, lights only. When we back into the pet hospital parking lot the Vet was standing outside and his jaw had hit the pavement. We released the care over to the Vet and quickly drove back to our building where did a major wash and wipe down of the interior of the ambulance and we were back in service in no time flat. I asked my crew to keep this call under their hats.
I waited for the call from the President of the Corp to tell me I had a meeting with the board members to get my ass reamed out then kicked out of the Corp. A couple of weeks went by, no phone call. Then one Saturday during shift I saw on the bulletin board in the building a thank you note with a beautiful picture of the German Sheppard. The owners had written their thanks in the card and said after some hip surgery the dog was doing great.
Call type: car accident, one four legged furry creature injured.
Outcome: The Dog:fine after surgery. Me:a forever good feeling.
Life Lesson Learned: Go with my gut instinct because it will be right.