Random post from the past that refuses to go quietly into the night…
PTSD is not always caused by a traumatic experience, years of not addressing frustration, hopelessness and helplessness is a big part of it.
We’re ready to leave the ER loading dock after dropping off a patient who was assaulted on Sunday. She said her headache came back and wants another Cat scan. A security guard approaches the ambulance and asks if we could check on a couple of babies that were in a car in their parking lot. There was nothing wrong with the babies, but the parents “wanted them checked.”
We find the car, no damage, no scratches, nothing. The two infants are sleeping in their car seats, parents walking around. The lady who backed into them is carrying on about how the babies need to go to the hospital in the ambulance because they need to be checked.
My radio comes to life.
“Engine 10 and Rescue 6, (the ambulance from the other side of the city,) respond to Homer Street for a possible drowning.”
The victim is reportedly two years old. I try to get myself out of the mess I’m in, the people involved in the “accident” are relentless. Homer Street is a few minutes away, in my first due district. The people involved in the accident insist the babies “be checked.” The scene, and that description is generous, is rapidly deteriorating, a crowd has formed and they are not on the side of the ambulance crew as tempers flare.
The radio confirms my fears, Engine 10 reports a two year old not breathing, no vital signs, CPR in progress. Rescue six is still five minutes out.
Somehow, I get the two babies into my rescue and 100 yards to the Children’s Hospital. Rescue 6 is approaching the scene, slowed by the dozens of speed bumps that litter the street.
Ten minutes later, they arrive, the two year old is still not breathing, we get him out of the ambulance and into a trauma room, where the life-saving efforts continue as I write this.
I don’t know if I could have made a difference, but when seconds count, being minutes away is sheer torture. Seeing the child that I should have been able to get to quickly rolling past me is torture. Seeing his mother arrive a few minutes later is torture. Looking at the people who kept me from doing my job is torture. Feeling contempt for a couple of babies who have nothing to do with any of this is torture.
Being here is torture.