Here’s the introduction to a new ebook called “Family Life and EMS”.

Posted: September 17, 2012 in News and Articles

Here we go….. Intro to “Family life and EMS”

All of a sudden you feel the vibration, and hear the loud ear piercing sound. The sound you’ve grown to love like a drug. OK – maybe not all the time. But most of the time, for sure. You patiently wait through the static. You wait the few seconds that feel like eternity for the microphone to key up. Finally a voice. The voice of the not so excited dispatcher. He calls out “Volunteer ambulance, please respond for a 9-E-1, cardiac arrest at 123 Main St.” At first, you almost can’t believe it, until he repeats “please respond for a 9-E-1, cardiac arrest at 123 Main St.”

Now the panic sets in. Why the panic, you ask? This is only my second call. My first (the day before) was an “imminent birth” that turned into a nervous first time mom with Braxton Hicks contractions. Needless to say – that call was not as story worthy. Back to the panic…..The crew I was riding with on this Saturday was a veteran crew. Two EMT’s, a driver and me (the know nothing probie).

As we screamed down the road in the ambulance, I had many thoughts going through my head. What the hell do I do when we get there? How will I react to this? Can I handle this? Why did I leave my house and family on this Saturday morning? What seemed to be an eternity in the rig, was only two minutes in reality. But the nervousness and the unknown seemed to draw the time out. Soon after leaving headquarters we arrived on scene. I jumped off the rig with the rest of the crew and grabbed our oxygen bag. In my few days I have already learned it’s not good to leave the rig empty-handed. We ran to the door and entered. Our ALS first responder was already inside, and informed us that this patient was “signal 50”, which means DOA (dead on arrival).

I was confused. “isn’t that what we are here for?”, I thought to myself. Why are we not doing anything? As I’m thinking this to myself, I am looking at our patient, who was in her sixties, blue and lying on her back, surrounded by pills and vomit. Then I glanced at her husband, who had just woken up to find her like that. It was then I realized he was thinking the same thing. Why aren’t they doing anything? Why are they here if they are not going to help her? I think we both knew the answer, but didn’t quite want to accept it. As the gentlemen grew increasingly upset, a police officer walked him to the kitchen for a seat, and to ascertain the necessary information. Knowing I was wet behind the ears, the first responder pulled me over to the victim, rolled her over and began to teach me about obvious death. He pointed out how her back was blue from lividity (blood pooling), and also how her head and arms moved right with the body since they were stiff (rigor). It was then I realized she’s been dead for hours, and there was no chance we would ever bring her back. No wonder we didn’t start CPR.

Soon after my lesson, we left. As we walked out the door I looked at the man one last time. When he saw us leaving I think he finally realized why we were not doing anything. He began to cry, and glanced back at us with this look. The look spoke a thousand words. I interpreted it as “you let me down, but I know there’s nothing you could have done.” That’s exactly how I felt about it anyway. As I climbed back on the ambulance, I felt a little nauseous, and saddened. It was a quiet yet quick ride back to headquarters. I remember when we got back, the rest of the crew continued with what they were doing prior to the call. They then proceeded to have breakfast. I could not eat. At least not right at that moment. It took me a couple of hours to feel comfortable eating. It wasn’t that the scene was gruesome. I think it was more the new feeling of being a part of something like that. To realize that doing this job means you are going to be a part of some stranger’s worst day. You will be there when their “unthinkable” happens. When their nightmare will become reality. I think that’s why I felt the way I did.

Written By Joe Galizio

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