This blog is from a journal entry from almost five years ago…
My partner and I were returning to our crew room from a routine call. We had a rider with us and were taking a different route then we would generally take. About three miles from our station, we got dispatched on a shooting and realized we were a mere 500 yards from the scene. Of course, the scene was unsafe. We could even hear rapid-fire gunshots as if they were within footsteps from us. I looked left and saw the scene unfold.
Police arrived within moments, the cruiser took the corner and pulled a u-turn into the parking lot where the shooting had occurred. He immediately hailed us with his hands as if to tell us, come now, the scene is safe. So we took his cue and pulled around to the scene.
The gas station parking lot was in disarray, and people were everywhere. A man in front of the store entrance was yelling to me, insistent upon helping his friend, who he pointed to underneath a car. He suggested a car jack to lift the vehicle, but at the time, I did not fully comprehend why.
A panicked woman shouted from her car to hurry over and assist her friend, who she stated had been “shot." However, as I got closer, I realized the man on the curb who was pointing to his friend was pointing under the car that the woman was shouting from. In the passenger’s seat was an unconscious woman covered in blood. All the while, the man on the curb still yelling at me to help his friend, so I laid down on the ground and found the man whose head had been run over by the car. I checked for a pulse, only to find nothing.
I quickly transitioned to the patient in the car; she was obtunded but had chest rise and fall. So I checked her carotid pulse and found one, we immediately removed her from the vehicle (the rescue had arrived during the commotion) and placed her on our cot for transport. She was secured to the cot in the supine position and rushed to the ambulance. I asked for a medic to ride in with me, and a friend on one of the fire apparatus hopped in and asked what he could help. I said, "vitals, I need a pressure, like now."
We worked feverishly to stabilize her, only to find ourselves further behind the "eight ball." Fortunately, I was able to establish an IO and start fluids. As I moved to secure an airway, I realized her pulse had vanished, and the monitor showed a non-perfusing rhythm. We immediately began performing CPR and in my head, knowing the reality of her wound. I wondered how much of this was in vain.
We worked her into the trauma bay where the ED staff and trauma team were. I gave my report and moved the patient from our cot to the hospital bed. And that is where the young woman died, right there in that trauma bay like so many others before. Just seven minutes after, we loaded her from the ground to our cot into the ambulance. I know because my partner told me that it took us six-minute to get to the hospital.
The chaplain and a couple of social workers asked me questions about the patient as we were cleaning our gear. I did not have a lot of information for them. After some time, I decided to walk away, finding the rider who was with us for it all. I asked if he was okay, ensuring he was emotionally fit. He seemed to be okay, a little quieter, a little less pep in his step.
Within 15 minutes were back in service, headed back to the crew room where we had initially planned on going before the dispatch. Life goes on, and more runs come, that said, I still think about her almost every day.