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went on my worst call to date today

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by M_Dail, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. I am a volunteer ff and, as such, we all carry our handheld radios when we're out & about in case we get paged. Today I was leaving my small (~300 ppl) town and witnessed/responded to my worst call to date. There were a dozen or so bicyclists on the state two lane highway & one of them turned out directly into the path of a car. He was struck at ~65mph, thrown probably ten feet into the air, and landed on almost the opposite shoulder. I was the first person on scene & radio'd dispatch to page fire/rescue/ems as well as launch eagle-med (chopper). I checked his vitals...he had a pulse & was breathing on his own (barely). I reported multiple system trauma, code red, then proceeded to get people back 100 yds each way & have them stop traffic. EMS/Rescue got him stabilized, on the board, and on the bird, but I don't know what happened since then.

    I have no idea how many lacerations & broken bones that guy had but I know I never want to see a human body twisted into a shape like that again. I'll be surprised if he isn't paralyzed & I keep thinking of what more I could have done in that situation. It's like its on constant playback in my head...the whole event from the time I saw him get hit till EMS/Rescue arrived and took over. Worst call I've ever been on by far & the fact that I witnessed it & was first on scene made it that much worse.
  2. oldstyle

    oldstyle Jeep Pirate

    Jan 31, 2002
    Jacksonville, Fl
    I learn as much AFTER the call as I do on the call. Replay is a great learning experience.

  3. RyanNREMTP

    RyanNREMTP Inactive/Banned

    Jun 16, 2007
    Waco, Texas
    Replay is good till it gets to the point of where you start to second guess yourself too much. First on scene needs to evaluate scene safety and start stablizing the patient. That means the CBAs. Communicate with the patient or bystanders. Then start BLS care, maintaining C-spine, keep the ABCs flowing. Then and only then start ALS care if you are capable (or allowed to) of doing so.

    Sounds like you did the right thing. I do hope this is the worse call you ever run on.
  4. ffrobbyrob


    Jul 4, 2007
    Wow. Seems like you had your hands full. Stay safe out there.
  5. The bad ones are the ones 20 years later you still recall. If your department has a chaplain or counselor go talk to them this week. I still remember calls that I had 25 years ago like it was yesterday. 3 Pediatric codes in 1 day. My wife never understood why I didn't want to talk to her about it, until we stopped at a MVA that a friend of hers had been hit by a drunk driver. She got to learn how to use an ambu bag that night. She's never been in EMS/Fire service just happened to be right place right time and I still keep some things with us in the car.
  6. I have no idea what you are talking about. Honestly, I need to go through the emt course just for my own benefit in situations like this. Patient was unconscious & bleeding from mouth, nose, head, etc. Bystanders were hysterical & I made them stay back & sit down. Didn't want them coming up & tugging on him. His g/f wanted to pull off his helmet:shocked: Got that idea shut down right away. Seriously though, I don't know enough to help so besides checking vitals, I didn't touch him.
    We had another run tonight & I got a bit of an update on the victim. Fractured tib/fib, ankle, femur, hip, pelvis, arm, had a hemo-thorax, & multiple brain bleeds. They gave him a very slim chance.

    I'm not beating myself up about it at all. It was just a bit rough seeing it all happen & then being the first on the scene with very little training backing me up.
  7. I guess from all of this, if anything good has come of it, I have decided to go through the EMT training the next time it is available locally (Jan. 08). Hopefully next time I come across a bad situation I'll be able to make more of a difference.

    BTW, word is they are waiting to pull the plug on the bicyclist.
  8. fireguy129

    fireguy129 NRA Member 2008

    May 31, 2001
    Northeast Pa, usa
    With something that bad, he might not have made it to the hospital without your intervention. Being right there, in radio contact, probably saved how many minutes? You stabilized him the best you could. People have been dead on scene with less.
  9. Reyn

    Reyn Times Up

    Jan 25, 2005
    Ive had to pick up bodyparts before. Severed arms,legs with shoes still attached. Bad scenes. I feel your pain. In the LEO,Fire,EMT line of work you are bound to see anything and i can guarantee if you stay in it you will see worse. From your description it sounds like you did a great job controlling the crowd,traffic and tending to the patient.
  10. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I know I'll see worse but I love what we do even though I'm just a volunteer ff. Knowing that I'll encounter more situations like this one is why I'm going to take the EMT course asap. In this case, I could have been the best neurosurgeon in the world & it wouldn't have changed the fact that he got hit by a car going 65mph. That, however, doesn't mean the next time I'm in that position a bit more knowledge wouldn't mean the difference between life/death for someone.
  11. RyanNREMTP

    RyanNREMTP Inactive/Banned

    Jun 16, 2007
    Waco, Texas
    Sorry my post didn't make any sense. After you finish your EMT class it all will.

  12. Not your fault at all. My ignorance of the topic is to blame and, as such, I'm looking forward to going through the training. My fiance is an RN and she is considering taking the course with me. She said she'd be able to start i.v.'s & intebate (sp?) if needed where the rest of the emt's here cannot.
  13. Dalton Wayne

    Dalton Wayne Epic mustache Millennium Member

    Apr 5, 1999
    Central Florida
    I've waited a few days to respond, I went through basic EMT school then a year later to paramedic school, was hired on to a Fire Dept and they put me through fire school then a year later took a part time Job as A police officer that department put me through the night academy two nights a week and every Saturday.

    So I worked three days a week full time at the fire Dept, was a volunteer on the small Dept in the town where I lived also volunteered at the Local Hospital several days a month and worked every other weekend nights at the local PD.

    I thought I was ten feet tall and bullet proof, nothing would ever bother me, or so I thought, I always skipped out on debriefing Thought I was to tough could handle anything, boy was I wrong.

    The first call that really bothered me was what I call the Saint valentines day massacre, It was Valentines evening a couple had hired a young lady about 20 y/o to watch their kids so they could have a romantic dinner, she had broke up from her boyfriend that morning, well he found out where she was babysitting came to see her with flowers and a 12 ga shotgun, it was one of those if I can't have you no one will, he killed her with several point blank shots with the shotgun with slugs, she tried to get away there were several holes in the walls and she was shot several times in the stomach and chest before he put the gun under her chin and blew her head off then he killed himself by eating the gun, he did this in front of the three kids aged five to ten it was a mess, could you imagine coming home to that...

    There were many other calls that are hard for me to talk about, in Twenty years you see a lot, what brought it all home was the night of Jan. 10th 1995 crossed over to the other side from being the rescuer to the one needing rescued, my wife and I were hit broadside by a drunk driver he blew a red light going over eighty miles an hour, my wife spent the next year in the hospital 33 surgeries and she still may lose a leg, It was like everything folded in on me every bad call came to the surface, I am going to a shrink every other week I have a very bad case of ptsd, I no longer work I am on permanent disability from injuries received that night,

    I guess what I am trying to say is don't think your tough, you are not superman, I can relate to the war vets with ptsd it's not a fun disorder, I never used to have nightmares, my wife and I both have to take a lot of meds to get through a normal day I take 8 vicodin a day just to be able to get out of bed and walk, plus meds to keep the ptsd in check.

    Don't be afraid to say I need help or I want to talk, would I do it again if I had the chance, Hell yes it's the best job in the world, but I would be the first to ask to talk not try to be superman
  14. 4095fanatic


    Oct 12, 2006
    I feel your pain... reminds me of my first "go get the shovel" call, because the guys organs were just slipping through our bare hands... we ended up with two bio-bags filled with body parts and internal organs. Talk to your co-workers, find someone you can trust, and cry on their shoulder. Letting it out is what's going to help. Realize you did the best you could, and whatever you did was better than if you hadn't been there. Take care.
  15. DaleGribble

    DaleGribble Sandwich!

    Mar 20, 2003
    Land of the toothless!
    Take the EMT class, you'll learn a lot of good useful stuff but don't get lulled into thinking you'll save everybody.

    That bicyclist was FUBAR no matter what you would have done. A doctor could have been right there and he couldn't have done much for the guy either. Nothing short of a trauma surgeon and a neurosurgeon in an OR was gonna save that guy and even that has it's limits when the patient has multiple brain bleeds.
  16. Thanks guys. I appreciate all the advice and support from you who have been there. It's an odd paradox as so many people look down on volunteer FF's because we aren't as experienced or as good at this as the pro's. I've been told I'm just an adrenaline junky, only do it for the rush, etc. However, when the SHTF, we are still the ones that have to go deal with it. "oh come save us" on one hand but "you're just a volunteer" on the other. If anything, I'd say it's harder for us because we aren't as hardened to the sights due to lack of experience but then, I've never been on the other side of the fence so I don't know. My dept. doesn't have a chaplain or anything like that. I've talked with my fiance about it a lot. As I mentioned before, she's an ICU RN so she understands what it's like to need to get something off your chest but try to respect patient privacy at the same time. In a way, being able to talk with you guys and share the experience a bit as well as see things through more experienced eyes has helped a lot.

    Dalton, I'm sorry to hear of your misfortunes. I wish you & your wife nothing but the best as you work towards recovery. I appreciate your input on the topic because I can't imagine what I'll see as time goes on. I farm full time & am on call at any time with the FD. This is a small farm-based community & we try to take care of our own as much as possible. I'm 25 years old & many of the local volunteers stay on till they are in their sixties so I have a lot to see & do yet with the dept.
  17. D25

    D25 The Quick

    Jan 26, 2003
    I seems like you might need to seek some other folks to chat with about what is going on in your head. Don't be ashamed to say "Hey, I need a hand with sorting out all of this." I am not a fan of formal CISDs, preferring to just borrow someones ear from time to time, but if that option is available to you, and you think it would help, then ask someone about it. Or just corner one of the old timers and chat a while.

    About the anti-volly sentiment: It's unavoidable and complete BS. I work hand in hand with the whole spectrum of emergency workers, from the "lowly" volly FF of very rural fire districts (which is where I started by the way) to pro FF/medics to ER RNs and docs to the occasional big time trauma surgeon. There are good ones and bad ones at each level. All you can do is strive to be a good one, no matter what level you may be. If you find yourself being criticized, then find out why, and get the criticizer to help address the issue. Have them come out to drill, and share their wisdom. Be prepared to take on the teacher role if you notice something that can be improved. We all need to remember that prehospital is the bastard stepchild of US healthcare. A unified front, and a little self-improvement will go a long way toward legitimizing our trade, and improving patient outcomes.

    rant off. stay safe out there.
  18. FirNaTine


    May 20, 2006
    I agree with many of the other sentiments expressed here, but I will say my piece anyway.

    Find a way for YOU to deal with stress.

    I am not a big fan of CISD/CISM. I have not had a positive experience with it. And a lot of the research to support its use was done by main proponents of it. Other studies have shown little to no benefit and possible harm. That said if it works for you, use it.

    I personally talk with my father a good bit, as I have said in another thread we are 3rd and 4th generation respectively. He has been there and seen a lot of the same things I have. I can talk honestly with him, and know it is in confidence. I also have a select few other people (FF's and PM's) who I will also talk with. It actually is one of the things CISD/CISM uses but it is done on my terms, and as I am ready to do it.

    If you don't have someone like I do to talk to, consider a priest/minister. I am not trying to push religion on you, but some people I work with find peace and solace that way. It helps some make some sense out of what we see.

    Some times I just go home and take the family out somewhere to forget about things for a little bit until I can make better sense of them. I don't lock it away, I just let the initial reaction die down a bit and then reflect on what happened. I'll kind of ask myself if I did the best I could with my training and what I had available. If I did, then it was up to God (or fate depending on your beliefs.) If there was something that could have gone better, I just try to learn from it and improve for the next call. Then I let it go. There is no need to keep replaying it in your head, and what if-ing yourself to death.

    People die, some times there is nothing in this world that can be done. This sounds like it was clearly on of those cases. Not to be callous, I just want you to keep realistic expectations of the outcome.

    Just don't ignore it totally, and don't drown your stress with alcohol. I enjoy having a drink or three occasionally, but some one I know very well drank himself into the grave at 47 (who also happened to be a medic), because he used alcohol to forget his troubles.
  19. nitroglock

    nitroglock NYCarry

    May 6, 2007
    Nothing we could do on arrival, the place was rolling back to straight out the front on the structure, truly sucks ass!!

    Fatal Fire
  20. Sundown


    Feb 25, 2007
    Pac NW

    About the anti-volunteer stuff: you will hear and see that a lot, no matter where you volunteer at, or what you volunteer as. There is always going to be someone sticking their nose up in the air at you, you just gotta do the best you can at whatever it is you do.

    It sounds like this is really affecting you. IMO, you definitely need to talk to someone about what you saw. I'm not saying that you need to go talk with a psychologist, but it probably wouldn't hurt to talk with someone who has experience and is trained in talking about that kind of stuff. Talk w/ your company officer, I'm sure that the department has resources at their disposal.

    You did the best you could with what you had. Good job!