The call comes in.
Our truck lurches forward, the lights bouncing and the siren echoing off of the houses we fly past.
“Priority one,” Dispatch says flatly. “MVA, pedestrian struck.”
The driver steps on the gas pedal, diesel surges through the truck. I’m just the student in back. Adrenaline surges through me.
What will we need?
Did we pick up that backboard after we dropped the last patient off?
Where’s the tape? I know I picked it up, where did I put it?
Collars. Towel rolls. Suction supplies.
Where the hell is that backboard tape?
IV supplies. I’m probably going to need those.
I can feel the truck slowing down. We’re nearing the scene. I look through the front window in an attempt to grasp what we’re rolling up on. I can see a younger female bagging what looks like a child on the street.
Not a kid. Not again. Not twice in one week.
I toss the airway bag onto the stretcher along with the rest of what I thought we might need.
He’s laying in the street in a pool of blood. Laying there, with his blond mohawk and dirty fingernails and Batman tshirt. With his long eyelashes and chubby cheeks.
My heart breaks.
His lips were already swollen. Blood was running freely from a large lac on his head that extended down the side of his face.
A crowd is forming. People are crying.
My hand are shaking. The boy reminds me of my Son.
I have what we need at my side. I just pray that this time I’m not called on.
“EPI!!! You have this.” He hands me the tube and laryngoscope.
I instantly felt my stomach turn.
Focus, girl, focus.
It hits me. His belly is huge and the BVM is making an awful squaking noise.
“Jeff, take the bag from her.” He does.
I check my equipment. Everything is as it should be.
I hold my breath and open his airway.
That is a lot of blood.
“Suction!” I yell, louder than I mean to.
Sean, a classmate and the partner of my preceptor, does his best to clean out his airway so that I can see something. Anything.
I take another look. I see chords, but they’re quickly submerged.
I start cussing.
“Suction him again.”
The patient’s Mother just pulled up. She’s being restrained by a friend or family member and a police officer.
Oh Jesus, please let me get this tube. Please.
I go in one more time. I see white chords and I stick the tube in, inflate it, and have Sean listen over the boy’s stomach and chest.
“It’s good, Epi. Good tube”
Jeff keeps bagging.
I finally exhale. For the first time in four minutes, I’m able to breathe.
Oh thank God.
“Let’s get the hell out of here, please?”
We load and go.
ETA: 6 minutes. Level 1 trauma center.
“You rocked that, girl.”
“We did everything we could.”
“His injuries were…”
“We’re so sorry.”
I doubt that his Mom and Sister heard anything that was said by anyone. Not the ER nurses, not the Docs, and certainly not us.
Know this, Mom.
I did everything that I could.
We all did.
And I wont forget him.