“sir, is this a dream?” | a living inspired story

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We work in the non-emergency medical transportation industry. The patients we transport, while in need of medical supervision, are typically stable. But all our EMTs are still highly trained and professional and sometimes circumstances require them to intervene in an emergency situation. The story below shows how two of our own EMTs stepped up and helped save a mother and her son after a car accident.   

Here’s Brandon’s story…

The two of us were on the 11th hour of our 12-hour shift and responding to our 7th call of the day. It was a simple, pre-scheduled hospital discharge and we planned to make it our last call of the day. Enroute to the location we noticed traffic had slowed. We saw one police car on-scene of  a two vehicle head-on collision. The police officer had someone sitting on the sidewalk, so we assumed he already got everyone out of the vehicles. As we inched closer, we noticed a 25-year-old woman sitting in the backseat crying with blood leaking profusely from the top of her head. We immediately knew the police officer needed help getting this situation under control.

We hit our lights and sirens to clear traffic and parked the ambulance in a safe position onscene. I told my partner to go help out the police officer with the patients on the sidewalk and I got ready to go help the female who was still in the vehicle. We put on our helmets and safety vests and each responded to our patients. As I was approaching the woman, I heard bystanders yelling “a kid is bleeding.” As far as I could see, there was only one patient in the car, but as I got closer, she leaned in closer to me and said, “my son is missing his lip”. She said again, “my son is missing a chunk of his lip.” When I looked down on the floor of the backseat I saw a 9-year-old boy on the floor pinned between the back and the front seat. Now I had two severe patients in need of immediate medical attention.

I called my partner over so we could work together to provide the attention they both required. With my partner by my side, we proceeded to remove the woman from the car. We later learned this was the driver–and when she got into the head-on collision she launched forward into the windshield, cracking it with her head. She had severe hemorrhaging and a possible spinal injury. But her mother’s instinct made her get out of the front seat and go straight to her son in the back seat to take care of him. My partner did bleeding control on her and a modified C-spine since she was already moving around prior to our arrival on-scene. While my partner was taking care of mom I started working on her son.

“The paramedic asked us if we were okay with taking both patients. I told him whatever we need to do let’s get it done.”

I leaned into the car and began to introduce myself when he interrupted me. He kept asking, “Sir, is this a dream? Sir, is this a dream?” This boy was looking up at me and he had a serious injury to the middle of his lip. He was losing a lot of blood so I looked at him and told him “I’m sorry son, but this is not a dream, but I’m here to help you and that’s what we need to do right now.” I asked him to do his best to stay still as I applied multiple 4×4 bandages and placed it between his lip to stop the bleeding and then I placed a pediatric C collar on him without moving his current position. As we were grabbing a quick set of vitals on our patients, the fire department showed up. I gave a quick report to the paramedic on-scene and we immediately got to work to extricate the boy from the vehicle.

“Sir is this a dream?”

We placed the mom on our gurney and loaded her into our ambulance. There was no time to wait for another ambulance so we completed full C spine, back boarded the boy and carried him over to our ambulance as well. We placed the backboard on our bench seat right next to his mom and used the seat belts to secure the backboard to the bench seat. The paramedic asked us if we were okay with taking both patients. I told him whatever we need to do, let’s get it done. We called the closest level one trauma center, the staff is like family to me. But they informed us that if we brought our patients there, they would eventually have to move the boy to another hospital—separating him from his mom. This wasn’t an option. He was already terrified and still asking all of us if this was a dream. The mother was holding his hand while as they laid side-by-side in our rig. We had to figure out something else. We found the next closest level one trauma center that would accept both patients and keep them together. So we radioed in so they could assemble the trauma team and be waiting for our arrival.

The paramedic jumped in the back with me. We started monitoring both our patient’s vitals before we got moving. Then we lit up our lights and sirens with the fire department in tow. One fire truck, one paramedic unit, and our blue ambulance at the front of the line. Enroute the paramedic needed to start IVs on both patients. I spiked two bags and helped keep both patients calm as as he started the drip. The boy was still asking if this a dream while his mother held his hand and apologized to him. The paramedic and I did our best to reassure them both and tried to keep the mother strong for her son by reminding her accidents happen. After 15 minutes we arrived. At the end, the fire department thanked us for our professionalism and assisting them with the transport.

While cleaning up the blood and mess left in our ambulance, all I was thinking about was the kid and how scared he was. How he kept asking if this was a dream, but to me the whole time it was a nightmare. But I couldn’t show that emotion. It made me think about my son and how I would feel if I was in the same situation–looking down at my own son. But that’s what empowered me to be even stronger for this mother and the son.

It’s situations like this where being at the right place, at the right time, with the right training and attitude can make all the different to those in need. It’s why first responders are an extremely important part of our society. But they aren’t the only ones who can rise to the occasion. Who can go beyond just performing the duties of their job. And we’re thrilled to know two of our own EMTs have the dedication to step in when others are in need.

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