This tells the story of one of the last EMS calls I had with Frank. He was always the best of the best, at fires and on EMS calls.
He sat in a chair in the corner of a once white bathroom, surrounded by attendants, skin as white as the walls were before being covered with his blood. The coppery taste in my mouth and sticky feeling on my skin connected me with this patient, whether I wanted it or not. His neck was sliced open, blood oozing from the one inch laceration that missed his jugular by a fraction of an inch. His right arm was split open, just missing a major artery. His left arm bore the brunt of the self-inflicted attack, blood pumped from the wound in perfect rhythm with his rapid heartbeat. He must be right-handed, I thought, applying pressure to stop the blood loss.
Frank Reddington from Engine 10 inflated a blood pressure cuff above the wound, saving the kids life. A flow of water continued to run from a sink in the corner, overflowing, mixing with the pool of spilled blood that covered the floor. Sheets were thrown down, absorbing some of the mess, turning the starched and bleached bed coverings into pink sponges. They squished as I walked over them, toward the patient. He was fading fast, hypotensive, major blood loss and losing consciousness.
We dragged the chair he sat on while carving himself toward the door, lifted him onto our stretcher and wheeled him past the secured doors toward Rescue 1, three floors below. From there it was business as usual, the chaos we left behind would sort itself out eventually, I was in my zone, with people I knew I could count on.
We replaced the 22 gauge IV somebody from the hospital had started in the kids bicep with a large bore IV, loaded him up with ringers and 02 and rolled toward the trauma room at Rhode Island Hospital. The fluids and 02 did him good, he became combative en route, but not nearly strong enough to do any real harm. The crew from Engine 10 helped restrain him during the five minute transport.
We transferred care to the Level 1-A trauma team that had assembled, BP 83/30, HR 140 or thereabouts. Before I left for the next call he was intubated, medicated, stable and in the operating room.
I can’t help feeling great as I write this, nor do I want it to stop. Somebody is alive right now that would be dead had we not shown up with the right blend of strength and experience to do our job. To enter a blood splattered out of control scene and restore order to the madhouse while giving somebody a second chance is not something to be taken lightly. Having a capable team waiting to take over is equally important. I’m honored and privileged to be part of all this, and I thank everybody who participated in saving this patients life.
Frank was a great firefighter, great on Rescue runs and one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He will be missed.
Rest in peace, Frank.