Friday, July 9

14 + 14 = Pain and Disfigurement

I haven’t been able to get myself to write the long version of this (despite what it looks like below), but wanted to get something down. I write these in the present tense for reasons I still don’t undestand…

Chatter on the fire channel at 0445 – Scene Command: “Has {my agency name} been alerted yet”? Control: “No”…

I awake at the sound of our agency name. Confusion on the radios. Seems two 911 controls (for different counties) can’t quite communicate and have managed to not dispatch us to a scene of a one-car MVA. While they got an agency out, it meant a longer response time and someone working outside of their district.

Scene command is clear that they want us there and that we should be alerted that there are two patients with one difficult extrication. I’m getting dressed as our pagers go off. We get 2 rigs out ALS. We arrive on scene to see rescue working in the middle of a field with dozens of people all around. The sounds are a mix of generators running lights and machines designed to tear vehicles into pieces, radios with lots of traffic, and the screaming of someone who is experiencing more pain than a human should have to endure.

One ambulance (from another agency) already left the scene with the passenger. Another (again, not us) is providing care to the driver of an SUV. There is nothing for us to do but survey the scene, feel sick to our stomachs, and be backup. This is OK by me as I can learn a lot being able to watch various aspects of the situation whereas if I was providing care I would have been too focused to notice things like the setting up of a landing zone for the helicopter, coordination between the rescue and ambulance people, etc.

The SUV is 100 ft off the road in a pasture. A trail of parts, an odd mix of suspension components and plastic, lead from the side of the road to the car. Part of a telephone pole is between the road and the SUV, the other is in front of it. The SUV hit the pole head-on on driver’s side. Foot well on driver’s side is now the size of a bread box. Distance between the steering wheel and the seat cant be more than 6 inches.

The entrapped driver vacillates from screaming in pain to silence. It took almost 90 minutes to get her out of the car. I have no idea how long she was in the field before 911 was called. The helicopter was waiting for her and when they got her out things went from crazy to silent within a minute.

The driver and the passenger were both 14 y/o girls having a sleepover. Still unclear how they got access to a $35k SUV or why they were driving 80 mph at 0300. For those reading from outside the US, minimum driving age in my state is 16. There is no way this story has a happy set-up, and I can only hope it has a non-lethal ending.