Rain moves through the area, bringing a flurry of accidents. We're dispatched to one after another. Often times, perhaps due to the construction of cars these days, there are no injuries. We arrive on scene, look around at busted cars and get legal signatures from people who don't want to go to the hospital (and probably shouldn't.).
We clear one accident and are on our way back to the station when we get called back to another one not far from the first. We're in stopped traffic on a two lane road. I pop on the sirens and lights. execute a 3-point turn and we're off to the races again!! Wheeee!
To get into position, we've got to go past the accident on the opposite side of the divided highway and turn around at the next exit. Some clown, on their cellphone while driving, almost takes me out with a 3 lane swerve. I suppose he couldn't see the 16,000lb, 9 foot tall, rolling ambulance with flashing strobes, wailing sirens and an air horn that's beating out a rhythm that sounds oddly like the cowbell in the beginning of "Honky Tonk Woman" by the Rolling Stones. Yes, I'm weird like that.
I start wading our way through the traffic to find the Medic unit in front of us and a trail of bashed, wrecked cars on the shoulders as we proceed. None of them appear to have injured people and we diligently report each one to the dispatch center as we go along.
Traffic is backed up because there is an SUV in one of the travel lanes. It's surrounded by police vehicles from the nearby military base, the state and the particular federal agency that patrols this stretch of highway. (Odd, I know but that's how things go sometimes). The patient is on the shoulder, out of the car already. RT immediately dives in with the medics doing patient care so I take the opportunity have a look at the vehicle.
It's got only 3 wheels. The front, passenger side wheel has only an axle stump where the wheel should be. Somehow, this driver has lost the entirety of the front wheel assembly. Tire, rim, brake caliper, ball joint...the whole mess. Both front fenders look like crumpled aluminum foil and there's not a single piece of intact glass or plastic on the vehicle from the doors forward. The busted grill of the SUV makes it look like a hapless boxer after a bad night.
Inside the car is another story. The patient is already out of the car and on the ground. The side windows have been broken and there is glass on the seat inside. This means that something broke the side windows from the outside. Rescuer? cop? rock? Errant Bird? I don't know. File that away for later.
Both airbags have been deployed. (significant) I can't tell if the driver (who is now being wrestled by the medics and RT) was wearing her seatbelt but the windshield has been broken from the outside and there is no evidence that a head hit it from the inside (hair, blood, brains or skin embedded in the glass). The seats are still bolted to the floor there is no blood or other evidence of trauma inside the car. The dashboard, steering wheel and other interior components are not deformed. This is good. It appears that nobody bounced around too much inside this vehicle.
Our patient has been living a life that is in no way deficient in calories. I dive in to help getting her to a backboard and then to the stretcher. During all this, I notice that her collar has slipped up her face. I go in to correct it and she wiggles her head around to get it out of the collar. She's already got a pretty short neck and her "upper body development" is not making it any easier. We improvise something useful and get her immobilized to the backboard, onto the stretcher and into the waiting medic unit.
While RT and the medics wrangle with the patient, I take a moment to query all the police as to how she got here. Broken windows and a busted windshield: Did she roll over? "No we had to break out the windows to get her out of the car."
Where's the missing wheel? "About 3 miles back. After she hit the 3rd car, she kept driving, on the road and in the median, with only 3 wheels and up to about 75 miles per hour!" I look at the police car that stopped her and see that it's covered in mud on the front of the car from the bumper to the lightbar. Woooh!
How long were you chasing her? "About 3 miles. Once we stopped her, she said that she was not allowed to stop for any police as she's the daughter of the top colonel of the army." Oooookaaayy.
"We pulled her out of the car and cuffed her. She immediately started to complain that her chest hurt. I put her on her side and then she started shaking."
Right-O! I hop into the medic unit and pass all this information onto them. RT is going to drive their unit and I'll follow in mine to take RT home once we get to the hospital. We get rolling onto the nearest trauma center. Halfway there, our dispatch starts calling the medic unit asking for their status. That's when I realize they haven't called with their patient information and destination yet.
After a few calls from dispatch to no avail, I hear RT mark up on the radio and advise them that we're all en-route to a particular trauma hospital and we'll advise upon arrival. Mind you, I'm driving an empty ambulance behind the medic unit and don't have a full appreciation of what's going on inside.
We arrive. Once we do, I park in a convenient spot and pop over to help unload. The doors to the unit are still closed and RT is still up front. What's going on? I pop the back doors open to see two medics looking frazzled and each trying desperately to hold down the patient. She's thrown off her collar. and thrashed around quite a bit. In the confines of the ambulance, the medics are holding her down to keep from getting hit. The looks on their faces are pleas for help. Apparently she's been fighting them for the whole drive and has even tried to fake a seizure or two. The medics have been so busy trying to hold her down and not get hurt themselves, they haven't had time to call anyone on the radio.
"RT! Come open up and get us out of here!" I say as I hop up to the head of the patient to help out. I try to put the collar back on her. Just as she snaps at me with her teeth, one of the medics says, "Watch out! She bites!"
I jack both of my thumbs into the space behind the angle of her jaw and below her ears. This is called the infra-orbital pressure point for law enforcement types and causes a LOT of pain without any tissue damage. I look her in the eye (both of which are very open right now).
"You bite me, I'm going to knock you out!"
Her whole body relaxes enough for us to get her out of the ambulance and into the loving arms of a waiting trauma team. I don't put the collar back on her but I do hold her head to keep it from moving. I also have my fingers placed in the same spot I "zapped" her before as a reminder that if she gets frisky, she's going to pay for it.
The trauma team is ready and, really, not very impressed with her antics. If you thought I was cruel. the trauma doctor is an absolute sadist.
As we clean our gear, one of the medics says to me:
"Man, this is what it's all about!"
The stress of the call sloughs off of us and we laugh and laugh.
"Man, this is what it's all about!"
Posted by --maddog at 06:55