Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bad Weather

Heading through the terrible weather towards the scene at right angles to the accident, the level of carnage looks all the more brutal. We're the third ambulance to arrive, adding to the sea of flashing lights. Rain drops look like tiny blue specks of light, reflecting the LEDs from all the emergency vehicles. Police cordon off each end of the street as fire crews start to cut through the mangled remains of what used to be a private car. The two occupants of the first car have managed to escape their wrecked former mode of transport and walked away with nothing but scratched arms and, for the driver at least, a bruised ego.

The other driver wasn't so lucky. Trapped in his seat by the crumpled front of the car, his head pinned back by the first paramedic on scene, all Terry wanted to do was move. One quick glance and I realised that it wasn't going to be a simple question of taking the roof off and dragging him out. There would have to be pieces of metal bent against their natural direction, some cut away all together, before we could even begin to think about getting him out of the car. 

And all the while, the rain continues to fall. 

"You must be getting soaked out there!" said Terry, talking through a misty oxygen mask. 

"Drenched to my core, but I'll worry about that later." 

At least he was in fairly good spirits. 

"Have you got any pain anywhere?" 

"Just my legs, but that's probably because they're wearing part of the engine." 

"No pins and needles, no pain anywhere else?"

"Nope. Nothing at all." 

"That's good. Can you move your toes for me?" 

Terry tells me that he's following my instructions, but his toes don't seem to move. Maybe I just can't see properly, but in any case, there's not much I can do about it.

"OK, we'll check on you a bit more once we've got you out of there." 

It took almost two hours of the fire brigade cutting, stretching and bending metal to get Terry free. In the meantime, we did what we could; gave him fluids and pain relief to keep him stable and comfortable. He finally appeared, borne out of his car on a flat, rigid rescue board. One look at his legs was all it took to see that they were both broken below the knee. 

"Can I just see the car before you take me away?" 

"Well, not really. It's the other side of the ambulance and you're now joining the wet-suit brigade. Besides, I think you need to get to hospital." 

Terry looked disappointed. 

"I'll tell you what - let's get you inside and out of this tropical downpour, and I'll go and take a photo for you on my phone." 

"Sounds like a plan to me!" 

We moved the trolley inside, turn the heating onto the highest level and my crew mate checked him out from top to toe again. I ran outside into the pouring rain, took a photograph as promised, and ran back inside into the dry.

"So, you sure you want to see this?" 

"You bet. Might as well have nightmares about something I've seen, rather than something I've imagined." 

"Alright then, here you go." 

With his head strapped to the board and stuck between two head-blocks, only his eyes moved. 

"Well, it's taken me twenty years!"

"First accident in twenty years?" 

"No. Third actually." 

"So what's taken you twenty years?" 

"Well, I've always wanted a convertible. I just thought I'd pick better weather to put the roof down." 

6 comments:

Gemlad said...

It's this kind of sense of humour that gets me into trouble at funerals.

MSgt B said...

Indomitable spirit.

InsomniacMedic said...

Gemlad - you and me both...

MSgt B - Absolutely. When we got to the hospital, despite knowing he had two broken legs, he still said he'd get up and walk too... :)

Starblade said...

Don't you just love casualties like that? Makes even long horrible jobs in horrible weather so much easier.

MsLeftie said...

People like that must make you smile even given the circumstances!

Bobbi said...

That's brilliant! People like that are too rare - and they're absolute gems that stick with you when you meet them :)