Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Worst Shift of My Career - Epilogue

If you missed the first four installments of this series, they can be found Here, Here, Here and Here.


Baby Jake is forgotten to most. I hear his mom did her time and has a lot of issues. I am told she doesn't have any contact with the DAs office regarding parole hearings, victims rights events or other events. His grandmother maintained contact for a while, but has not done so for many years. I have carried his poster in a victim's rights march a few times, as have my kids and some other first responders who helped in his delivery.

His murderer was up for parole last April, probably for the fourth or fifth time. Fortunately, the panel has seen fit to keep the bastard in prison and he remains incarcerated. Thanks to the net, I keep track of his whereabouts. I keep hoping that someone inside will hear of his crime and shank him. I shudder when I think of him out on the streets.

The father of the two little girls who burned to death in the car fire was sent back to prison on a parole violation. The DA felt that the chances of a successful child neglect prosecution were slight, so charges were no filed. As a result of the investigation however, enough information came to light to violate him and send him back to prison for another year or so. I guess that's better than nothing.

The little boy who started the fire must be a young man by now. He shouldn't have too many physical scars, I am unsure of emotional ones. He was pretty little when this occurred, maybe he won't remember much. My guess is that he had a tough road ahead of him, even before the fire.

We never did find out for sure who or what started the apartment on fire. It was likely a "negative corpus" arson fire, but without follow-up it just never went anywhere. Someone likely got away with arson. It wouldn't be the first time, nor the last.

This rotten shift occurred during the holiday season. I went through a series of several years in a row where major trauma/strife/chaos/mayhem occurred during the holiday season. As a semi-grinch, I didn't need that kind of BS to further dampen my holiday spirit, so I figured out a way to get from Thanksgiving to New Years off each year. It was a strategy that worked well for me..

Unlimited time trades is a good clause to have in your contract. I know the city would like to get that back, I hope the guys are too smart to give that up. It's a great benefit that doesn't cost the department any money at all.

That pretty much wraps up this series. I know many of you have had worst shifts, some might say that I'VE had worse shifts. I can only tell you that for whatever reason, this is the one that got to me the most. Through it all though, it was still the best damn job that I ever had.

Thanks for reading,


  1. That can't have been easy to write about. It wasn't easy to read, in parts. That just means you did a good job conveying the rottenness of it, I think. As always, thanks for writing.

  2. Capt, thanks for putting that out there and being willing to share it, that can't have been easy. It is nice to be reminded that none of us are really alone in remembering "those" calls.

  3. Thanks for writing this, Capt. I did my internship with RCOFD/Goodhew at 48's, back in the very early 90's. You might have known my preceptor, Ethan; Small world, and all.

    Your story reminded me of a similar day; we rolled on an MVA on the south side, near what's now Kaiser MoValley. The cars were demolished. No patients. The father/driver of one of the cars grabbed his unrestrained toddler, who'd been severely injured in the crash, and took her to the hospital in a witness's car. We went to the ER to transport to RCMC (I think that was the name? The trauma center back then...)

    As we were waiting for the patient to be stabilized for transport, another Medic unit, with another medic student from my class, brought in a badly burned infant. That one was intentional child abuse, and especially heinous at that. It still haunts me to this day. The baby was dead on scene, should never have been moved for an investigation; the student and his preceptor 'freaked' and transported.

    While I don't wish your day on anyone, I can offer one bit of a positive; you have an outcome. The bastard is in jail. You know what happened, and can take some tiny measure of consolation in it.

  4. Jared - It is a small world. The name Ethan rings a bell, but I can't put a face to the name. Most of those old timey medics have moved on, either to other gigs or to nicer parts of the county.

    RCMC is still the only level II trauma center in the west county, the place is a zoo on many nights. I'm glad it was moved out there, old county was the site of several crazy calls. I didn't miss old county when it moved.

    Thanks for the commenty