I could hear the teletype winding up before the phone even rang.
Picking up the dispatch phone, the only thing running through my foggy mind is that this is the 4th call after midnight. Ugh.
I slither into my sky blue jumpsuit and slip into my boots. I don’t even bother zipping the boots up. I look a mess, I know.
I kick the bed next to me. “Hey, Jessie. C’mon, we’ve got another one.”
Grumbling, Jessie starts pulling on the jumpsuit and I stumble to the pole, lean my shoulder into the thing and half fall, half slide down to the ambulance bay. I grab the teletype printout and have a seat and wait for Jessie to get his slow butt down to the rig.
“What are we doin’?”
“Santa Monica and the 4-oh-5. Traffic collision.”
Jessie fires up the rig, hits the lights and heads down Wilshire. No sirens. Heck, this time of night the only thing that sirens do is remind the locals that they need to call an ambulance for sumthin.
Judging from the number of cop lights we see when we round Sepulveda, this is more than a fender bender.
I am assuming that the hulk of sheet metal and glass squished up against one of the overpass pillars used to be a car. Already, I’m on the radio, asking for some help. “OCD, Rescue 37 we need an engine here for manpower.”
“Roger, Rescue 37.”
One of LAPD’s finest approaches as we roll to a stop.
“Looks like the driver bought it but his passenger got thrown clear. He’s over there on the sidewalk”
I don’t need to tell Jess to grab the board and trauma kit. Seasoned and street wise, he’s got a bead on the situation.
I shift my trusty flashlight from hand to hand as I put on my latex gloves. There’s this new thing called Aids going around and I ain’t catchin’ it.
This guy’s in trouble. He’s been thrown about 30 feet from the car and he’s unconscious. He’s got road rash and blood all over his upper body. Already, he’s got raccoon eyes and with each exhale, a little flotilla of blood bubbles escape his cracked and broken lips.
Jessie arrives and stabilizes the guy’s head. I grab a 8 Macintosh and put in a breathing tube, moving him as little as possible since the chance of neck injury is pretty good in this case.
Engine 37 (the boys) arrive and help us get him strapped to a backboard. They also set up a couple of Ringers in the back of the rig.
We were on scene for all of about six minutes. Jess is driving towards UCLA like a bat outta Hell and I’m on the radio.
“UCLA ER, Rescue 37!”
“This is UCLA. Go ahead, 37.”
“UCLA, we’re enroute code 3 with an approximately 35 year old male, victim of a traffic collision. He was ejected from the vehicle. High speed impact. He is unconscious with multiple contusions to his chest and head. Right pupil is fixed and dilated. No peripheral pulse, carotid is 120 and weak. We’ve got him boarded and intubated, 2 large bore IVs running wide open. ETA 2 minutes.”
“Copy that, Rescue 37. We’ll see you in a few.”
I got one of the firefighters riding with me in the back. He’s bagging the guy while I try and get more than just a meatball assessment done. I look up and our eyes meet. Neither of us need to say a word. We know the score and this guy ain’t coming out to play anymore. He’s permanently benched.
A hard left turn tells me we’re in the lower level garage that serves as the entrance to the UCLA ER. I can see the red lights leaving crazy zig-zag patterns on the Beemers and Benzes (DOCTOR PARKING ONLY).
The trauma doc and a cloud of nurses and techs meet us at the door. He’s whisked into Trauma 1 and the cacophony rises as we transfer him to the hospital guerney and get the hell out. Best to get scarce and let the folks do their job. Besides, the back of the rig looks like a bomb went off and I need to get it ready to roll.
I’m heading past Trauma 1 with fresh supplies and a ham sandwich from the triassic era. I hear them call the code: “Time of death, 03:57.”
Out at the ambulance, I hear the scream of a motor and screeching tires. A little 4-door Datsun comes barreling around the corner and damn near hits the ambulance.
A short, panicked, young hispanic man hops out of the driver’s side.
I yell, “Hey, what the hell do you…”
He’s yelling at me, gesticulating wildly. The only words I can make out are, “Por favor!”
He yanks open the back door and I see her. Sweating like crazy. Breathing through pursed lips and grunting. Her legs are slightly apart as she lays on the back seat.
I already know what I’m gonna see when I look.
Sure enough. She is crowning. Not just a little either. No time to call for help, half the baby’s head is out.
I get to play catch. I guide the rest of the head, the shoulders and before I know it, a little girl is squirming and crying in my arms.
It’s about now that Jessie shows up. Takes a look and turns 180, mumbling something about getting help.
I cut the cord, give bambina to mom and grab a towel to wrap the newborn.
By this time, the ER staff is on the way out the door, pushing a guerney.
Later, as I was restocking the rig I had a chance to reflect upon what just happened.
I saw one go out of the world, I brought another one in.
True story, folks.