Friday, November 28, 2008

- Gang Bangin' (Holy shit!)

We're paged out for a shooting at around 3 in the morning - not to say this wasn't expected.

There has already been a shooting tonight, and it seems that retaliatory gunfire has been mandatory. This time it's a little different, however - someone has loaded up a shotgun with slugs, and opened up on the supposed shooter's (from the first murder tonight) house.

Well, the shooter wasn't home, but his 61 year old mother was. There are at least three holes in the door and front wall of the house. I can actually see light coming through from inside. Shotgun shells are scattered allover the driveway, circled by little orange hoops of spray paint to mark them as evidence.

"It's kind of messy in there," says one of the cops. "I was like, 'Holy Shit!'"

I walk in and look at the scene on the floor in front of me. "Holy shit!" I whisper to myself.

Apparently when the shooting began, the first slug - the one that punched a hole through the door, also punched a hole through her, entering through the rear of her left calf, through what I can now see is an inch wide ragged hole. If the front of your foot was 0 degrees, and the read of your calf 180, the slug has entered at a 225 degree angle.

Traveling through the lady's calf, it burst out of the front right side of her shin and continued on though the home. The exit wound is about 4 by 5 inches, about as big of the top of my fist, and is bleeding venously. It looks like someone dumped red paint allover the floor, where it has started to clot already.

If this wasn't enough, the whole neighborhood is out to watch. They sound like a whole zoo, packed into a 100 yard area. The cops are running around everywhere, only a wink at crowd control, and We are forced to park about 50 yards back from where we should be due to improperly parked first responders.

And if that wasn't enough, my partner this evening? Why, it's old Cutsy, every one's favorite Goth wannabe. She's a real mess this evening, and I am entirely unsympathetic.

Hey, I'm kind of an asshole sometimes. I've worked pretty hard to try and help her out but it's like trying to get blood from a turnip. On the usefulness scale, she's falling somewhere in between A Monkey Fucking A Football and a Starfish.

At least If I got mad at a starfish and ripped it to shreds, it could regenerate.

Cutsy manages to drag her ass through the door. "Holy shit!" she yelps.

There are no pulses on the foot no matter how I manipulate it. I tell Cutsy to bandage it up. A ragged chunk of bone visible in the wound and NO WAY YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS Cutsy is just starring at it as I'm trying to get this patient squared away.

"Cutsy!" Nothing.

"CUTSY!!!!"

She blinks her self awake. "Huh?"

You need to turn down your fucking Cradle of Filth, you superfluous waste of genetic Material. You're going to blow out the tiny little remnant of brains you barely manage to hold on to if you don't lower the volume, you vacuous fucking mouth-breathing hell-spawn sent here to make my life miserable.

That's what I want to say.

Instead I say "Bandage the Leg."

"How?"

I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting that one. She caught me flatfooted, and now here I am, staring across this old black lady who is bleeding allover the floor, trying to figure out what to say.

Finally I grab the bandage from her, wrap it, and secure it. "Like That," I say gruffly. "Go spike me some bags in the back, please." I look away from her and I can hear her start to cry as she walks outside. It bothers me for nearly a whole second before the anger boils back. How can she not know how to bandage something? She had to have seen that at least once or twice in Basic class. HAD TO. Had to pass it for national registry. All that shit should be fresh in her head.

That's how I used to know you were mad at me, Lazy Partner told me after we stopped working together. You get real polite, and you don't smile at all. That's how I used to know.

Well, I still hate Lazy Partner, and Cutsy is climbing higher on the list.

We transport the lady to the nearest hospital. I can't get a line in her at all - her veins are nonexistent, and if she passes out on me, I can drill her, but I'm betting that the ER might be able to succeed where I've failed.

"Holy shit!" Goes the ER Nurse, when I unwrap the wound. "Call the resident, now!"

"Holy shit!" goes the resident, when he sees the damage. "Call a Trauma alert, now!"

"Holy Shit! Look at the that! The Tibia and Fibula are completed shattered! You can see!" says the Trauma surgeon.

* * *

I walk out to the truck, and sit down next to Cutsy, who is not cleaning, just sitting there shell shocked. "Hey."

"What?"

"Look, I know you know how to bandage someone. You had to have done it at registry, at least."

"Well, yeah," she concedes meekly. "But I didn't want to hurt her."

"Huh?"

"Well, that was a big wound on her leg and she was already hurting. I didn't want to make it worse."

"Sometimes, that part of the fucking job, Cutsy. You need to get used to that. If it's ever just the two of us on scene, I need to know that I can count on you, hopefully as an independent EMT, but barring that, at least as someone who can follow my orders. The lady needed that leg bandaged immediately. You could see how much blood she had lost."

She starts crying again. I whip out a post it and write a phone number on it.

"Here's the number to CISM. Call them right now."

This is the extent to which I will help her.

* * *
So I show up at work the other day and who should I see as part of the off going crew?

Lazy Partner.

Only, now? She's Lazy Paramedic, here to do some ride time to clear as a paramedic in her own right.

It's going to be a long holiday season.

-MM

8 comments:

Loving Annie said...

Shudder. I feel for you - Cutsy is not an asset.

Poor lady shot... Makes me wonder whether she was a good mom and tried hard and worked 2 or 3 jobs - and her kid went bad anyway, and she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and her own home too boot. Too sad.

Unless she was a baddie herself, and then it was karma coming home to roost.

Either way, a depressing scenario.

A long holiday season indeed. Some Thanksgiving. Bah humbug.

Must have been a really good post, MM because you've got me all fired up and ticked off ! You just described it all so perfectly...

Walt Trachim said...

Feeling your pain.... I had a partner once that froze up on me at a crime scene - multiple stabbing victim with air leaking out of his chest in the worst way. When I asked her for dressings she just stood there and stared. Took me a few seconds to get her attention and focused on what needed to be done.

It wasn't the first time she reacted like this - she did it to one of our other medics about 6 months earlier. Different but similar scenario, same general reaction to the situation.

I have not worked another shift with her since. If I find myself scheduled with her (far enough in advance, of course) I will always find a way out of it. She is just too much of a liability for me to have to carry.

Anonymous said...

Good thing I don't know Cutsy -- I'd have bitch-slap that girl on your behalf! I've may not have had any formal medic/rescue training, but I'm willing to bet I could've adequately dealt with that poor woman's leg without going catatonic. She needs to learn to take care of the patient, and THEN go off somewhere and have her little pity-party after the emergency is over. I just hope she gets the hell out of your line of work before she lets somebody die because she can't handle blood or pain.

Anonymous said...

A monkey fucking a football could be very useful! Think about watching it when your stuck with crappy partners, puts a whole new spin on it huh?

Bernice said...

All I can muster is "Holy Shit!" She didn't want to hurt her.

If you need me, I will just be over here at my desk seeing how many times it takes before we can get to the tootsie roll center.

Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello MedicMarch,

Self-injury (SI for short) can be a sign of rape, sexual assault or childhood sexual or other abuse. In any case, Cutsy could well be dealing with PTSD and/or other serious disorders.

It was good of you to give Cutsy the number to CISM. You might also want to give her the URL to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network and their nationwide hotline: (800) 656-HOPE/4673.

Hopefully, once Cutsy gets whatever help she needs, she'll be better both for herself and for you and your patients.

Cheers,

Jeff Deutsch

PS: My word verification this time was "mendi". Mend is just what Cutsy needs to do.

Anonymous said...

The only thing worse than useless basic partners is useless paramedic partners. Thankfully they aren't too densely packed into our operation.

No

Thadeus said...

This won't work in reality, that is what I suppose.
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