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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Paramedic Stories, Part XII: A Bloody Mess (By Johnny Eaglefeather, EMT)
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Friday, July 23, 2004

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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A very bad car wreck is the scene for this story in the "Paramedic Stories" series. Johnny Eaglefeather is not having an easy time with the memory of this incident, and he is thinking of quitting his job as a paramedic because of the seriousness of this incident that has affected both his mind and physical health.

It is one of those types of calls that chills you to the very core of your being: somehow, when you hear the nature of the call, your gut turns rock hard and your back turns to ice. You hear of a bad multi-car accident somewhere along I-65, and there are possible life-threatening injuries (and even some possible deaths) involved. The tones sound, and immediately, your unit springs into action, as do several other units, who have also been notified of the same accident along this stretch of I-65.

Yet, you have an obligation to do. You have to get to these injured victims as soon as possible if they are to have any chance of surviving the trauma, and you put your game face on as you get your gear, make sure you have everything you need, and take off towards the scene of the accident.

Once you come upon the scene, you are shocked at the sight of mangled metal, injured bodies lying in or along the street, shattered glass, and human suffering; yet you go to each victim, quickly assessing their condition, and treat them accordingly, reassuring them that help has arrived and that they are in good hands, and you also check for things like broken bones, severe bleeding, internal injuries, breathing difficulties, and level of consciousness. You then treat the most serious problems first, and then go down along the line, hoping that you have gotten to these people in time and hope that they will make it through prior to their trip to the hospital.

You then see the broken, bloodied body of a very young child, possibly not much older than the age of two, and at the sight of the tiny corpse, you immediately know that the kid is dead. There is no response from the kid, and its face is smashed in; and you know that the kid probably died instantly when it was thrown against the windshield. It is obvious that the kid died from massive facial and head trauma, and the kid didn't have a chance. You try to swallow the bile that rises threateningly in your throat, and you try to remain calm as you deal with the sight, and then have to deal with the mother, who is openly weeping and asking you, "How is he? Why isn't he moving? Why isn't he answering me?"

You also splint broken limbs, reassure victims if they cry or moan in pain, check their vital signs (pulse, temperature, blood pressure, respirations, pain level), write down the information for the hospital, and load up the victims in the back of waiting ambulances, but despite your calm nature, your mind somehow keeps drifting back to that of the dead child with the smashed-in face, and it is all you can do to keep from crying. Yes, death is a part of life as life itself, yet, no matter how many times you are faced with it, you can never fully get used to it, and when kids or babies are involved, it is even harder to deal with and accept.

This very incident happened to me and my buddies (George, Kendall, Pat, Erick, Renee', Isaak, and Howie) two months ago, and as much as I would like to forget about it, I can't. I see the broken, bloodied body of that infant boy, and it is all I can do to keep from wanting to cry again or give up the field of emergency rescue altogether. Death is getting harder and harder for me to deal with, and I see too much in the way of human suffering; and it is starting to affect my emotional status. I can't sleep as well as I used to, and I have far too many flashbacks of horrific accidents; and it is starting to affect my nerves and my overall physical health.

I am thinking of having to give up my job as a paramedic for a while until I get my bearings together because right now I am turning into a walking zombie, and I am turning into a nervous wreck!

It doesn't help that my daddy was involved in an emergency recently; he is doing better, I am happy to say, but he is still in the hospital, recovering from surgery, and it will be a while before he is back on his feet. So this is another reason I am thinking of quitting the field of paramedic; I want to be with my father while he is still alive, and I want to be with him until he has recovered from his heart attack. So if you don't hear from me in a while, now you know why. But I WILL drop in from time to time, just to let you know how I am faring.

Until the next time you hear from me, you take care, and I will see you along the way.

~Johnny Eaglefeather, EMT.

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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 7/23/2004
This is an excellent piece...You did an awesome job with this...
God Bless
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 7/23/2004
Very dramatic piece Karen!!

Outstanding job!!

Pst...your pic a little big it covers your introduction up sweety!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 7/23/2004

WOW--this is a visceral punch to the gut--very dramatic and well written! great job here

(((HUGS))) and love, karla. *tears*

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