Terminally Anxious Dispatcher can't keep the worry out of her voice. "They're saying 5 kids involved, blood everywhere. I'm going to send an additional unit. AirLife 1 and 3 are responding.d"
We are hurtling down Big Road. We are going to have to go down to the next highway exit and loop back to get to the crash site, where a single car has careened off the road into the forested median. As we pass from the other direction I can see smoke rising up through the trees. I swear there is a flicker of yellow. I want to stop here and just run through the forest, but the trees are too thick. We have to go all the way around.
"G0 Ahead, X"
"If you don't have them coming already, get fire department rolling. The car is on fire."
"They've been toned out, March, coming from around the river."
We take a shortcut I know about. Lazy Partner is scared about crossing the opening, stating that it rained a couple of days ago and the ground is probably still too wet. I can see anxiety in her eyes.
"Just do it. We'll make it."
The ground holds, and we quickly get on scene. Our field supervisor comes over the radio as we pull up, establishing incident command.
I leap out of the truck, double gloved, ready for action, and say the line every medic has said a thousand times when they get to a scene.
"What we got?"
"6 vics, one critical, the rest all need to be collared and boarded."
"No one still inside the car, huh?" I can see the smoldering wreck in the trees. All the foliage around it has been burnt away. The car looks like it's been inside a compactor, with the front compressed to an average length of two feet. The windows are all broken but I'm not sure if that's from the wreck or the firefighters.I finish sizing up the scene. All the vics are sitting or laying on the grassy hill next to the wooded median. The VFD Paramedic is with the critical, and that's who I go to first. I turn to our Sup. "Ok, this is what I think. Crit out first on Airlife 3 (who is closer), we get the rest boarded, and decide if another needs to go out on Airlife 1. Sound Good?"
"Exactly what I'm thinking. I'll get in touch with dispatch."
Technically since I'm the first "Real" unit on scene, this is my scene, but since a supervisor is here I'm content to let him make the calls. He's got a lot more experience and I'm not going to get into a pissing contest over stupid shit like who's in charge when people need help. It is, however, very reassuring to hear him echo my exact thoughts, that we've processed the same information and come to the same conclusion.
Maybe I should go help this critical patient before my head gets much bigger and I cant fit inside the back of my unit.
I make eye contact with my partner, who has parked the truck at the front of the scene, put my hands around my neck, hold up the number 5, and yell "Peds!!!". Mom, I can see, already has a collar on, and one of the firefighters had bandaged her hand. I kneel down next to the critical. She has swelling to the right side of her face, and her left arm is swollen, definite fracture. Her vitals are stable, though, and she's talking to us, remembers everything that happened. I grab my partner. "Collar her, board her, she's out first, I'm going to check the rest."
I quickly assess the rest. No one is really hurt, but one of the other kids has a goose egg on the noggin and is complaining of abdominal pain. The kids are 3,4,10,11, and 15. I decide to fly out Goose egg and drive the rest.
Airlife 3 comes in low and fast, buzzing the scene. They troopers scramble to shut down the interstate. After giving instructions to the VFDs to finish boarding everyone, Supervisor and I grab my stretcher and load up the critical. Airlife has set down, and the flight medic takes my report. They lift off.
Our other medic unit has arrived at this time, and in short order, we get everyone loaded up. Airlife 1 sets down a mere 50 yards from my unit, kicking up dust, and forcing Lazy and I to lean over our patient, the Mom, to protect her from debris. Lazy sets me up an IV as we put Goose egg in the chopper. Airlife 1 takes off again, low over the scene, the rotor wash battering my unit.
We transport to the hospital uneventfully. Mom is feeling a little chest pain but it is consistent with injuries from where her seat belt would've been. I shoot a 12 lead for posterity that comes back negative. From our supervisor getting on scene to us, the last unit to leave, the whole call has lasted 27 minutes, including the time for to board 6 patients and two choppers to set down and load up.
Later, when we're restocking, Lazy partner can not quit smiling.
"What?" I inquire.
"That was so cool, with the choppers flying around, and the smoke, and the chaos. It was like I was in a movie!"
PS - Scroll down to read my 10 percent post - I'm going to blog on a topic of you're choosing, so leave your vote in the 10 percent comments section.