A shooting? In our first in? The planets must have fallen out of alignment we joked as we rolled down the road. Although violence is not unheard of in our district, the higher rents of newer housing require that most of our customers have jobs - thus the factors that usually contribute to violence are not as prevalent around "The Healing Place" as they are around many of the other stations in the K.B.F.P.D.
"Whattaya bet it was a BB gun or a paintball gun?" I ask over the headset, half joking. We pull into the parking lot of a large department store. The sight of a Hispanic male leaning against the bed of his pick up truck, pale and profuse throws my theory out the window. I can tell from my seat that the patient is seriously injured and is in shock. My engineer, who also happens to be a medic, doesn't get as good as a look at him as I do, but can still tell that patient is in bad shape. As a result, he spots the engine in the aisle, leaving just enough room behind the engine for the ambulance.
A deputy is on scene, as is an officer from a neighboring city. The deputy motions for us to approach the patient, the rapid, deliberate manner of his action conveying the urgency of the situation.
As we approach the patient, I notice a couple of shell casings on the ground, fairly close to him. They look large, at least forty cal. I try not to step on or kick them, as this is likely to be a homicide investigation.
We are surprised that our pt. is still standing. We can see at least two splotches of blood on his shirt, one on his right upper torso, toward his back and one on the right side of his abdomen. He is starting to have trouble breathing, but is able to tell us what happened and is aware of what is going on.
It is now a race against time as I look up and see the deputy getting the crime scene tape and camera out of the trunk of his cruiser. The ambulance arrives as we quickly strip our patient, give him some Ohs, take vitals and complete our assessment. Both crews work together to establish I.V. access, place the pt. on a backboard and load him for transport.
So far, our actions appear to have done little to improve the condition of our patient. He is in need of surgery, the term "Golden Hour" was coined for patients like this. All involved know that the sooner our patient gets to the trauma center, the better his chances for survival are.
The ambulance departs for the hospital, my medic accompanies the patient as the chances of performing CPR seem high. The siren's wail pierces the din of late afternoon traffic, the patients race against time continues.
My engineer hurriedly collects our equipment and tosses it into the rear of the cab. Our race with time is in the critical phase now. I assist him and am closing the cab door as the deputy approaches me and tells me that he doesn't want us to move the rig, until he looks to see if it is in any of the photographs that he has taken. A quick veiw of the camera LCD shows Engine 226 in all of it's glory.
It appears that we have lost our race against time. We are doomed to stay here until the homicide detectives arrive and the I.D. techs complete processing the scene. We have to call the District Commander and advise him that we will likely be tied up for a few hours and that we have personnel out of the district, at the hospital.
Fortunately, our medic is able to catch a ride back to the scene from an ambulance company supervisor, the D.C. does not have to go fetch him. Our medic tells us that the pt. spent about five minutes in the E.R, then was whisked up to surgery. We later heard that our pt made it through surgery OK, and is expected to recover.
Although E226 lost it's race against time, the patient emerged victorious in his. The stakes for us was a late dinner. For him they were much higher. The important race was won.
Thanks for reading,