guns · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Medic 5 Heart Attack

 

So, this one time, at band camp…..no, wait. That’s not quite right.

So TINS©. There I was FDASL©, detailed out to Medic Five from my home house. It appeared that I had offended the Patron Saint Of EMS and Street Medics, grievously, because I arrived to find Cletus, grinning widely, awaiting me. Shit.

I asserted The Prerogative of Seniority, and drove, leaving Cletus to medic. (Remember that. File under “Things That Come Back To Bite Me in The Ass”) The day passed pretty uneventfully, runs came in, patients got transported, and we, of course, fought disease and saved lives.

Now, at that time, nearly 40 years ago, Medic 5 was out toward the western margins of Da City. The firehouse called home was on Bliss Road, close by to the Western Expressway. Western suburbs included Gardenia and Westworld. Our hospital choices included a couple of small hospitals of the plethora that (at that time) dotted the city, or a couple of respectably sized facilities in those selfsame suburbs.

So, somewhat later in the afternoon dispatch invited us to respond to a “heart attack”. This took us nearly to the city limits. As we pulled up, there was a figure hopping around on the porch, arms a-waving, feet a-tapping, directing us to that dwelling. (Uh, you mean to tell me that every other house, lacking front porch frenetic interpretive dance performances, are NOT the scenes to which we were called? This is my shocked face!)

So, of course, Cletus bought into the pandemonium, whole hog. He leapt from the rig, just about as soon as I brought it to a stop, and beat feet into the house, leaving me, the handheld radio, and every other thing (except the medic bag) behind. I placed the ambulance in park, shut off the beacons, and radioed in to dispatch that we were on the scene.

I turned on the handheld radio, and followed him into the house. As the occupants opened the door, I was struck (nearly literally) by the pall of gunsmoke that wafted out into my face. Asking about my partner, I was directed into the rear of the house.

I reached the end of the hall, and, in the bedroom to my right noted my partner bending over a supine soul. I announced myself, and CLETUS TURNED ON ME, SNUB BARRELLED REVOLVER IN HAND. Of course, he was pointing the barrel at my belt buckle. I swept his hand over my head, removed the handgun from his hand, and asked him what the…er, fenomenon he thought he was doing.

“She had it in her hand, as I entered the room.”

“Uh huh. What else is up?”

“I dunno.”

“Howzabout you find out?”

As he turned to assess this lady, I figured that having a loaded gun, on my scene, and not in my control, was A BAD THING. I wasn’t about to remove it from the scene: that seemed to me to be very like tampering with evidence, so, instead, I opened the dresser next to me, opened the cylinder and dumped the bullets into one drawer, slammed that drawer shut, and tossed the revolver into another drawer, which I also shut.

I turned back to Cletus, and saw him reaching for the BVM (bag-valve-mask), as he evidently had determined that this soul was arrested. Hmmm. Trauma code. Kinda expecting a malign outcome.

I handed him the prep (handheld radio), asked what else he thought he would need, and ran to the truck for the cot. We wrestled the patient onto the cot, trotted from the house, and set Cletus up for a restful episode of solo CPR in the back of a moving ambulance. Yeah, totally.

I called to dispatch, asking the location of and directions to the nearest trauma center (it wasn’t my house, wasn’t my district.) I reported , “Medic Five, Code One, Westworld Hospital. GSW Chest, cardiac arrest. Notify police, no scout at scene.”

Sometimes, you can hear the double take over the radio. “Medic 5, did you say GSW?”

“Affirmative. GSW chest, cardiac arrest.”

“Medic 5, are you sure?”

“Yeah, dispatch, kinda sure. My partner retrieved the pistol from the victim’s hands, I tossed it into the dresser drawer next to her.”

“Very good, Medic 5. We’re calling the hospital now.”

So, I navigated the Tie Fighter that is an ambulance running code, through the suburban traffic. I was (pleasantly) surprised to see traffic moving aside, as if I were Moses at the Red Sea, as the siren and beacons made known our intent.

We arrived at Westworld Hospital, and turned our patient over to the ED crew who, unsurprisingly, called the code after a brief attempt at resuscitation. Cletus and I cleaned up the truck, and completed the trip sheet.

We were just about to head out, when dispatch called us, directing us to phone them.

Once I had done so, I was directed to phone another number, because the detective wanted to talk to me. Once I had identified myself, he launched into his inquiry.

“You the medic on the scene?”

“Yeah, me and Cletus.”

“So, this was a shooting, right?”

“Yep, gunsmoke and all.”

“So, where is the pistol?”

“I dumped the cartridges into the dresser drawer, and tossed the gun itself into the top drawer.”

There was a pause. “You know, you have messed up my scene, and tainted my chain of custody.”

I contemplated this for a moment. “Well, sir, there was no officer on the scene I could turn the gun over to, and I was reluctant to leave a loaded, unsecured, firearm floating about on my scene. I did not think it would be clever to (a) remove a gun from a likely crime scene, (b) have in my possession a firearm that had been implicated in a likely crime scene, or (c) carry said firearm into a hospital with me. So, I did not identify any better option, at that time and on that scene.”

Life Lesson Number One: Sometimes, you have to extemporize.

Life Lesson Number Two: to quote John Farnam: “You may be killed when you take decisive action. You may likewise be killed when you do nothing. Either way, dithering is toxic. Indecision and delay will prove fatal. So, size-up the situation quickly. Hit the “go” button. Don’t look back.”

http://defense-training.com/2018/who-dare/ (datelined 14 May 2018)

guns · Life in Da City!

Still MORE Gun Fun in the ER!

 

So, after everybody heard of my rollicking good times with Mr. GottaGo and his knife, well, they were SOOO jealous. Or, not so much. In any event, subsequently, restrained folks had their clothing removed and placed in a bag, “for safekeeping”, and property inventoried so as to ensure that everything brought in, went home with them.

Soon thereafter, I was working, and our local fire department brought in this soul, who got restrained (for seemingly good reasons, although, at this distance, I could not tell you what that was). The other nurses appeared to have things under control, and so I was busy doing something else. Knowing that I am a “gun guy”, one nurse came to me, TINS©, with a revolver in one hand, and a magazine in the other.

Look what we found in Mr. Man’s pants! Sure glad we got everything!”

I took the revolver from her, and dumped the cylinder into a specimen cup. I checked it again, and again, and, once almost convinced it was unloaded, I asked her, “It that everything you found?”

Yep! We got it all!”

Uh, no you didn’t. That (indicated magazine) does not go with this (indicated revolver).”

What do you mean? Isn’t that how he reloads it?”

Nope. Just for an experiment, why don’t you try to reload this with that?”

She took a couple of minutes poking, turning, and re arranging, but could not get the magazine to mate with the revolver. I retrieved both from her, and placed them into a property envelope, locking both in the narcotics drawer. “Let’s frisk our friend, one more time, just to be certain”.

We found nothing, but when security arrived to secure the firearm, they, too, frisked our guest again, wondering what he had done with the semi-auto the magazine went to.

guns

More gun fun in the Emergency Department

I have to go to my car…because of my stainless steel model 59….

Another time, I was working the floor in our little hospital ER, and a gentleman arrived, and, since it was a Saturday afternoon in July, well, he had a lengthy opportunity to enjoy the hospitality offered by our waiting room. Like, hours and hours.

So, TINS©, when I finally brought this gentleman back, and read the triage note regarding his cough, I handed him one of our gowns, and asked him, “Would you please take off everything above your waist, and put on our gown so it opens in the back?”

I have to talk to my cousin.”

I was kinda busy. “Right now?”

Yes, right now.”

I was puzzled. “What could you possibly have left to say to him, after spending, what, three hours in our waiting room?”

He shrugged, and drew back the left side of his shirt. There, situated crossdraw in a belt holster, was a shiny Smith and Wesson Model 59 semi automatic pistol. Nice.

Is that what you needed to talk to your cousin about?”

Yes.”

Then, I asked what may be the stupidest question of my entire life. (except for the time I asked my wife how she became pregnant. She looked at me and replied, “Really? You were there!”) I asked him, “Sir, do you have a permit for that?”

He said, “Yes.”

Really? What was he going to say, “No, I’m a felon.”, or “No, but I’m gonna carry it around with me anyhow.”? And, what was I going to do with that information? Disarm him? Really?

What I did, was provide the direction I should have started with. “Uh, sir? We really don’t want pistols in our waiting room, just like we don’t really want them in our emergency department.”

He shrugged, again. “Can I go to my car?”

“Certainly! Please come right back!”

He nodded, and I walked with him to our exit door. The security officer at that post asked me what was happening. “See that car, that that gentleman is going to? Please keep a close eye on it, because he’s just now putting a stainless steel 9 mm model 59 away in that car.”

Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Stairway To The Bathroom

 

So, once upon an EMS, I was working a medic unit in the center of the city. We caught a run to the near west side, and so, off we went. It was late on a lovely July afternoon. I remember the leaves shading the yard of the house we were called to. We walked up the steps, up the porch that ran along the side of the house, and knocked upon the door.

An excited gentleman answered our knock, and directed us into the home. There, a turn into the bathroom revealed our patient. He had, or so we were told, stumbled while descending the stairs, had fallen down those selfsame stairs, and, since the stairs terminated in the bathroom in which we were standing, when he came to a stop, he did so abruptly, having struck his head upon the bathtub. He seized, and our correspondents thought that this was a bad thing. Their opinions were not changed by the fact that our new friend had not awakened at all since the fall and seizure.

My partner at this point, who we can think of as Heinrich Hobson, was a veteran of the streets, and schooled in the ways of Da City. So, of course, once he left for the ambulance to retrieve the cot, backboard, and suchlike so we could transport our patient, well, THAT is when the excitement began.

So there were two ambulatory men, and one huge woman, on our scene, in addition to our unconscious patient. This woman was carrying an enormous purse, and began to exchange (heated) words with one of the gentlemen. The shouting escalated, and Mrs Large Purse decided that it was time for Show and Tell, and therefore Showed us all her nickel plated semi automatic pistol, all while Telling us how, in her words, “Alright, m0th3rf4ck3r, now you gonna DIE!”

It was not immediately clear which “m0th3rf4ck3r” was “gonna die”, or whether this was a particular prediction, or applied to all of us in the room. Since I kinda stood out, being (a) in uniform, and (b) the only paleface present, I felt as if I were a lightning rod awaiting that thunderstorm, and wondered, to myself, if there was not someplace I ought to be. Like, anyplace but that house.

I began to sidle my happy little way out of the room, and onto the porch. Once on the porch, the voices in my head held a debate regarding the proper way to unass the fatal funnel that the porch presented. One chorus encouraged, nay, DEMANDED, that I “RUN!”. The other viewpoint was that, in running, I would both attract (more) attention, and likely would elicit the predator-prey response in the nice lady with the pistol. I was not altogether certain that I really would enjoy the starring role of “Prey” in this production, and so, while the voices in my head held their debate, and then broke out for focus group discussions, I longstepped my way down the porch, and into the street.

Heinrich was collecting the straps, board, sheets, blanket and whatnot useful in comfortably transporting our patient, and I walked right up to him, and in the scholarly, educated, calm, thoughtful manner of speech for which I have become justly famous, brought him up to date on events within the domicile. What I said was, and I quote directly, “G! G! Guh! Guh! Biigggg! Biggg, guh!” Several choruses of that gibberish followed, until The Nice Lady With The Gun appeared on the porch, and I finally orchestrated a semi coherent thought. “We go now!?”

Of course, calm as could be, Heinrich grasped the handie-talkie, and began to bring Dispatch up to speed.

Dispatch, Medic 8. We need police here, my partner reports that there is a woman with a gun inside on our scene.”

Dispatch did not require a lot of time to process this. “Medic 8, have you cleared the scene?”

Negative, our patient is still inside.”

Dispatch’s opinion of that plan? “Medic 8, clear the scene! Immediately!  Police are on the way!  Repeat, CLEAR THE SCENE!” 

At this point I was in the passenger seat, listening to all the wisdom Our Friends At Dispatch were sharing with Heinrich, and wordlessly testifying to their TRUTH! Heinrich debated the ethics of unassing the scene wherein our patient lay, vs returning to save lives another day (the latter course of action I enthusiastically supported), with dispatch, articulating the position that we could not leave our patient.

I had my own thoughts on that matter, mostly along the lines of WHY THE F4CK WERE WE NOT IN THE NEXT PRECINCT BY NOW?! While this conversation continued, and I slunk down in my seat, thinking invisible thoughts, one of the gentlemen from the scene, he of the “Alright, m0th3rf4ck3r, now you gonna DIE!” insight, came to MY side of the truck, grasped the sill of the door, and asked, “You all ain’t gonna leave me here, are you?”

I started to roll up the window as fast as I could (no, I do not know why), and told him, “Mister, if you do not pull your fingers back right quick, I ain’t gonna leave ALL of you here!”

So, as it happens, if you really feel a burning need to know just how many officers DBCPD has on duty, and with access to a car, at any given time, I recommend that you find a seat across the street from a scene wherein an EMS crew has just called “Medic in Trouble!” Let me tell you, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, as car after car squealed to a stop, and officer after officer piled out ready to kick ass and take names. Fortunately, by this time, Ms. Gottagun had strolled down the street and into another house altogether, and the officers declared the scene secure. Our friend of the tub-strike (remember him?) got bundled onto a spine board, and trucked off the TLHTTIC.

No medics were harmed in the telling of this tale. For some of them, however, their foundation garments will never be quite the same shade of not-brown.

guns · Life in Da City!

Why am I a suspicious soul?

 

Why am I a suspicious soul?

 

Because of runs like the following.

 

TINS ©, TIWFDASL © , and Medic 13 (our unit) caught a shooting. (Yeah, I know. Shocking! Shocking! Folks getting shot in Da Big City!) So as per the usual plan, we Weedle-Deedled our way to the scene, and pulled up after the police had retired the combatants to neutral corners. (Remember that assumption. It figures prominently in the rest of this story.)

So, our friends at DBCPD (Da Big City police Department) pointed out the shoot-ee, who did not appear to have a care in the world. Well, not THIS world. In fact, he appeared disturbingly unaware of the excitement unfolding around him, and so we assessed him quickly. Awake? Nope. Breathing? Nope. Carotid pulse? Nope. Trifecta of cardiac arrest. The Bonus Points of chest wounds meant that our friend was a trauma code, and trauma codes are widely renowned for having malign outcomes. In short, pretty much Dude be Daid. (for our non-street speaking readers, “daid”=DEAD.)

 

Around this time in Da City, another crew had left a dead fellow on the scene. They had figured that the GSW that had pretty thoroughly emptied his cranium had removed him from the living column of life’s census. However, once they had gone in service, one remaining neuron in this person’s hind brain had met up with another lonely neuron therein, and, in saying “Hello!”, had elicited one, last, agonal breath. The cops on the scene had freaked out (“He’s alive!”), called for another unit, and this medic crew, reading the writing on the wall which said, “This way to departmental charges and unemployment”, took another path, which included transporting this patient so the hospital could pronounce him. The first crew was suspended without pay for something like 6 weeks.

 

For this, and other reasons, there was no way we were going to leave this soul on the scene. Onto the cot, into the truck, and prep for liftoff! As I was connecting the oxygen to the BVM, and generally settling in for a lengthy episode of solo CPR in a moving vehicle (nearly as much fun as it sounds like it is, you ought to know), the rear door opened, and a female face appeared therein. She asked, “Can I ride with you?”

“Who are you?” I inquired.

“Oh, that’s my fiance!”

Let’s pause a moment. After several years on Da Streets of Da City, I concluded that there was not a solitary female older than 17 in the corporate limits of the City of Da City, who was not betrothed. This particular run was NOT after those several years, and so the following may be unsurprising, in retrospect.

Well, I invited said Fiance to enter the vehicle, and secure her safety belt. Doug set off to the The Best Trauma Center In Da City (TBTCIDC). He gave radio report, and I CPR’d my little heart out. Ms. Fiance inquired after my patient’s condition and prospects: “Is he gonna be alright?”

I gave her the long answer. “Well, ya know, when we do CPR-this is CPR- on somebody, they are very, very sick. In fact they are critically ill. Critically ill means that there is a very real chance that they will not survive. Now, I’m doing everything I can to help him, but people who are this sick, well, a lot of ’em die. We’ll just have to see how he turns out.”

She digested this for a moment. “I’m sorry I shot him.”

Huh? I mean, What The Fuck? Huh? Gotta admit, I was so startled, I stopped CPR, looking at her for a minute. After several breaths (mine, not his), I collected myself again and resumed CPR. Ya know, CPR, by yourself, in the back of a moving ambulance, coding to TBTCIDC, is kind of challenging. It becomes particularly so if you are trying to keep your eyes on the just-self-admitted-shooter of your trauma code. Yeah, him. Right there, under your hands. And, well, she is all of 24 inches away. Yeah, that sort of distracting.

I had just about deluded myself into thinking that I was getting back into my resuscitative groove, and had turned my gaze from Ms. Shooter/Fiance, when she decided it was time to expand her fund of knowledge. “Is this gun big enough to kill him with?”

Holy Fenestrated Fertilizer! What the absolute fuck could possibly happen to make this run any worse?

I froze, keeping my eyes on my shootee. “Er, Ma’am? Would you please put that back wherever you got it from?”

A moment later, “Ok, I put it away.”

“Thank you! Please keep your hands on your lap!” NOW, I kept my gaze upon the shooter/Fiance. Of course, THAT meant I wasn’t doing compressions, or ventilating my patient, but, in truth, I was kinda paralyzed. So, when we pulled to a stop, and Doug launched from the driver’s seat, to extract the smoothly running resuscitation that was his smooth, professional, skilled partner, well, that is NOT what he beheld. Rather, it looked like a sort of diorama, perhaps entitled, “Medic Gets A revelation In The Back of the Ambulance”. In any event, it was a still life, not a moving picture. He tried to form his question, along the lines of “Why aren’t you doing CPR?”, but I propelled myself past him, and dragged him away, stuttering profusely. My part of the dialogue sounded like “G…G…G..G…GUH…GUH…GUH…GUN!”, and it took him a moment to process it. Meanwhile the ER crew had extracted our patient, and were running him into resuscitation.

Doug and I grabbed one of the BTCIDC cops, and Doug, by now obviously the brains of the operation, told said cop our tale. “She’s got a gun, she shot our patient, and here she is!”

We found somewhere else to be.