25 April 2006


A bunch of BLS calls today. Nothing that great. Transfers, doctor appointments, surgeries, psychs. All the good stuff. I don't think I used any section of my brain whatsoever today. I went to a hospital on the west side of Chicago. I felt like I definitely needed a bullet proof vest. We had a couple hours of rest before they started kicking our asses again.

At 0300 we got a call to a home address for a patient going to Chicago for a surgery. I saw the address and realized that we were going to the ghetto. The caller gave the wrong road-they only spoke Spanish and minimal broken English. Oh well. We ended up finding the place, only it was much deeper into the southside than the address we thought we were going to. The last time I was in this area I was on a call for a multiple GSW-gang fight. I was hoping this would turn out okay.

I had to go the wrong way on a one way street to get to the building. It looked pretty gross from the outside, but we were in for a real treat. It took about 10 minutes of standing in the freezing cold for someone to come open the door after repeated beatings on it. I looked inside and realized just how bad it really was. The flooring was coming up, the paint was peeling off the walls, and the apartment numbers were written in spraypaint on the doors. The guy lead us up a creaking staircase with rotten wood that would sink with every step and threaten to swallow you up, to the second floor. He led us inside, past at least 8 sleeping people on an assortment of mattresses and couches to a bedroom where a man in his late 30s was lying in bed. Nobody spoke English. I introduced myself to our patient and out of the corner of my eye saw something move. I looked up and there were several cockroaches running up the wall. Eeew. I made note of it, but nobody else seemed to notice at all. My partner continued to speak with the family, and I walked back out to the rig to get the stair chair. I made my way back up the stairs, carefully avoiding one particular step that almost threw me down the staircase on the way down. It isn't completely attached and lurches forward when stepped on. I set the stair chair inside the apartment and put it together, making sure to tape the latch at the bottom for extra security. While I was doing that, a cockroach scuttled right past my knee. I was starting to feel sick.

We got the guy moved over to the stair chair, but there was only one problem. His legs were paralyzed, so he couldn't bend them properly, and his butt wouldn't sit on the chair enough. We made the decision to just go with it, so we strapped him in and made our way out of the room. Mind you, this whole time, the rooms have been rather dark because everyone was sleeping. One of the people in the apartment flipped on the light for us as we were leaving and no less than 20 cockroaches ran for cover into surrounding boxes, under couches, and no doubt, onto the people sleeping on those items.

It took us a few minutes to maneuver this man down the stairs because his legs were practically around my partners neck (he couldn't bend them). Then we transferred him onto the cot, into the ambulance, and we were on our way. The rest of the trip was, thankfully, uneventful.

We got a call almost as soon as we got back. A psych. No biggie. Ha, that's a good one. Our patient was a 15 year old kid that had to have weighed no less than 350 pounds. Great. I called dispatch for a lift assist, and was told that there was nobody. I made the kid walk to the ambulance. He was cool and was going for "depression" so I wasn't too worried. Before we even got to the psych facility, our pager and computer went off again with another page for a wait and return ultrasound. At this time I had already been held over for 30 minutes. We dropped off the psych and picked up our next patient. By this time it was almost 0900. My partner was supposed to pick her baby up at 0900, but our relief (that should have been there at 0800) was sent on an emergency call, and we never even saw them. We ended up getting a BLS crew to relieve us around 1000. Now I have bills to pay and a house to clean before I go back to work at 1700 at the firehouse.


Blogger Steve Jones said...


I wanted to let you know that the First Response Coalition (FRC) has added you to our “blog roll,” and I invite you to link to us, as well.

The mission of the FRC is to educate the public on the needs of first responders. Our primary issue of concern is communications interoperability. As you are probably aware, many public safety agencies are unable to communicate with one another because their communications equipment is often incompatible (i.e., many first responders operate on different radio frequencies and use different radio technologies.)

The lack of communications interoperability can have deadly consequences. As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, the inability of the NYPD to communicate an evacuation order directly to the FDNY resulted in the tragic loss of over 120 New York firefighters.

I invite you to visit our website and check us out. Please feel free to post comments on our blog, and be sure to read our new report which assesses whether first responder communications throughout the southeast are prepared the 2006 hurricane season.

Best Regards,

~ Steve


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