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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Desperate Measures: Paramedic Stories (By Wendell P. Gilmarten)
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Monday, January 07, 2008

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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           >> View all 7,357

Paramedics try to save the life of an injured child who fell out of a second story window.

We had been anticipating a slow, uneventful day; however, in our line of work, that can be an impossibility at times. Most times.

It had been a quiet morning ever since our arrival on shift at six that fateful morning. We were certain that no calls would come in: it was just after ten thirty in the morning, and we spent the last four and a half hours playing canasta, crazy eights, or gin rummy, reading, or watching CNN on television. It was a rather relaxing day.

Nico, "Goose", Patty, and myself (Wendell) were on call when this particular event occurred. We were relaxing at the station, as I just said, ready for a nice, quiet, boring day when the all-too familiar sounds of the emergency tones going off jarred us back into reality.

The call was for a child down. A PTP. (Pediatric Trauma Patient.) The child had apparently fallen out of a second story window; the child was not moving, not responding, according to those first on scene. An ambulance was immediately dispatched.

We got our gear, jumped into our rig, raced to the scene within a matter of moments. The firetrucks and police cars had already arrived; we hurried to where the victim, a little boy of no more than two years, lay on the ground. The little one was unconscious, blue in the face, barely breathing. When he did breathe, he would gasp for air.

We knew we had to act fast if the kid was to have any chance of surviving the incident. Patty cut off the kid's clothes so as to expose his chest, where she then hooked cardiac monitor leads to him, and "Goose" started an IV into one thin, fragile arm. Nico checked for broken bones; there didn't appear to be any; however, the little boy was still in trouble. He had no blood pressure, and he was slipping away from us fast.

I, meanwhile, worked on the kid's breathing difficulty. I attempted to slide a pediatric-sized airway down the little guy's throat. He immediately gagged, then threw up. I quickly rolled him onto his side, cleaned out the gunk from his partly open mouth, then proceeded to try again. Success! Soon, I had an airway established; I hooked the kid up to an Ambu-bag, where I then stareted breathing for him every few seconds--anything to try to get precious, life-giving oxygen to that little young brain of his.

We immediately got the kid immobilized; we then got him onto a waiting stretcher bed, where we rolled him to the ambulance. We placed him in the back, where Patty and "Goose" continued to work on the child, while I rode up front, shot-gun, with Nico, who was driving the ambulance.

Apparently the kid wouldn't go to take his nap. He wanted to play. However, he got too close to the window; that's when the glass gave way, and the boy plummeted, two stories below, to the hard pavement, landing on his head upon impact.

If the boy didn't have any broken bones (a broken skull was our biggest concern; he showed to have CSF leaking from his ears, and blood was trickling from his mouth), we would be extremely surprised.

We raced to the hospital, full lights and sirens blaring, causing vehicles to scurry out of the way. We knew we had to get the kid to medical attention, or else he would, more than likely, die.

At the hospital ER, the team was waiting. Upon our arrival, they took over while we gave them a report of what had happened to the kid. The kid was still not breathing! He didn't have but a weak pulse; a pulse that showed signs that it could disappear at any moment. We got him to the table, where we (we being "Goose" and myself) helped the ER team to try to save the kid.

Suddenly, without warning, the monitors started shrieking and buzzing loudly as the kid went into cardiac arrest on the table. We immediately started CPR on the boy; we wouldn't give up hope for the kid. We prayed as we worked; soon all of us were drenched in blood, sweat, and tears as we fought valiently to try to save the child's life.

It was all in vain. It was not to be. The kid died despite our best efforts. He was only two years old. A senseless tragedy that didn't have to happen.

It turned out that the mother had no idea this happened until she woke up from her nap and saw the window in her son's room had been busted out. That's when she looked down, and, to her horror, found her child lying motionless on the pavement below. That's when we were called to the scene.

The mother was later charged with child endangerment and neglect. She is now in prison, finishing a five-to-ten year prison sentence. Her other children were taken away from her, placed in foster care.

This happened two years ago, and we still have nightmares about it. Any trauma is bad; however, when an innocent child (or infant) is involved, it somehow makes the situation more dire, more tragic; a lot of these pediatric trauma cases don't have to happen, but somehow, they do, they always do. And these are the ones that usually end up breaking your heart, wounding your spirit, and causing many a good pareamedic/EMT to give up Emergency Medicine forever.

Trust me. I've seen it happen;  yet as a paramedic/EMT, I feel obligated to help these children, and do anything possible to ensure a good outcome.

~Written by Wendell P. Gilmarten, Paramedic/EMT, Nashville, Tennessee.

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Reviewed by Carole Mathys 1/7/2008
I know stories like this very well...I spent 13 years as a Paramedic
in my community...very good write!

love, Carole~
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 1/7/2008
While lying down on that steel floor of a chopper, I vagely wondered what was going on in the Medic's head which was trying to close the blood fauced somewhere around me.
I salute the Medics, all of them, they are the real angels of mercy.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 1/7/2008
A potentially life saving message in here, to watch your kids. You never know when they will get into trouble. Far too real for many...well written, Karen.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.

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