Lights reflected off the tall dark buildings as the ambulance responded to its eight call of the night. Sirens woke no one, a common sound in Baltimore, known by everyone. John Sullivan drove his ambulance down the deserted streets, responding to another shooting victim, another young male shot.
Police were already on the scene, helicopters in the sky, hovering like vultures circling their next meal. John pulled the ambulance next to the curb.
"Get the bag," John said to his partner, as he rushed to the victim. John checked the victim's pulse, "He's still alive but not for long. Let's get him loaded up."
At least there was only one victim. Drive-bys were become a thing of the past, a shooter didn't get paid if a person kills everyone but the intended target. This killer had walked right up to the boy, looked him in the eye and pulled the trigger.
With the help of the police, John and his partner flopped the victim onto the stretcher, like a sack of potatoes. There never is an easy way to load a limp body.
"You get an IV started, I'll put him on the monitor," John instructed his partner. The victim's pulse was weakening. "Let's get going, I'll drive," John urgently stated as he slammed the back doors to the ambulance.
John slid into the driver's seat, the ambulance lurched forward as he dropped it into gear. "Shock trauma this is Medic 12, we're coming to you with a seventeen year old male, shot in the chest," John shouted into the radio. "We'll be arriving at your location in about five minutes."
Five minutes can seem like a short period of time or long, depending on one's perspective. When someone's life is in your hands, five minutes never ends.
Time finally passed and the ambulance screeched to a halt in front of the hospital.
"John he's crashed!" his partner yelled as he started CPR.
John threw open the back doors to the ambulance, releasing the stretcher, he pulled it out with the young on it. John and his partner continued CPR as they wheeled him into the Emergency room.
"His heart stopped just as we pulled up," John stated. "He's been shot several times in the chest."
The doctors and nurses took the young boy from the two Medics, placing the victim on he operating table. The victim's pulse never returned for John and his partner.
In less than five minutes the doctors had the young man's chest open and had his injured heart in their hands. Blood rushed from the open cavity as the doctors removed the bullet and quickly stitched the wound closed. The doctors started the heart beating again while the man's chest was still open. Quickly they closed the chest cavity, stapling the sternum back together.
"The young man's heart beat again for five minutes after being resealed in its proper place. Sadly, though, his young heart just recieved too much damage to continue.
"Time of death 4:30 a.m.," the lead doctor sighed, dropping his head.
John and his partner cleaned their equipment; leaving the hospital for another call. As they walked down the hall they passed the waiting room. They could see the police telling the mother that her son had just died. Dropping to her knees she wept. John and his partner kept walking, they did all they could have done.
Baltimore's harbor turned a brighter shade of crimson that night; but then again that happens every night.