Anonymous Story : Make or Break

It was around 1230 in the morning. We were dispatched to a routine chest pain call. The patient said he had a heart condition and had an appointment with his specialist 80 miles away in the morning. He signed out AMA rather than get transported by ambulance a few hours earlier. While we were getting the paperwork signed, tones dropped for another call. “Medic ___ , Medic ___ Battalion 1, 3, 4, Command, respond ALS Red for CPR in progress on a one year old”. None of us flinched…

We packed up our gear, signed out the paperwork and left calmly without rushing the patient while he was taking his sweet time. We were 50/50 to being the closest medic unit to the scene. About 5-7 miles out from the call. We go en-route and rush to the scene. Another medic unit, 2 chiefs and 2 chaplains are on scene. Walking up I remember my heart racing. This was going to be my first code as a firefighter. I walked through the sliding glass door and immediately to my right I see a woman crying uncontrollably while a man comforts her, looking stunned. I look in the doorway ahead where I see a crowd of uniforms. In the center of the room I can see a small pale pair of legs moving every time a chest compression is done. I wait patiently outside the room unit it is my turn to swap in for chest compressions. When it is my turn I step in and kneel down just like my training says and use 2-3 fingers for CPR. No training prepares you for the feeling of a lifeless child underneath your fingertips, or the look on the child’s face, eyes closed, getting breaths from a bag valve mask. The feeling of lungs expanding under your fingers, or the sound of air passing through the trachea. After a few more rounds we all look around and the medic picks up the phone to get a declaration of death. Not required but a good idea for calls that might go to court. We all leave the room one by one and walk outside. Passing the parents who are still sobbing, you can see they realize what is now happening. They see the medic begin to walk over to them and tell them the same tired, but true line “Sorry, we did everything we could but unfortunately we were not able to save your son. “ We step outside and take in a few breaths of fresh air, many of us holding back the emotion that this call has brought out in all of us. We clean up our mess and leave the body in the room, making sure someone stays inside until deputies arrived and secure the now crime scene for investigation. We head back to quarters and shortly after laying in bed we get tapped out to another chest pain call. This time 18-20 miles away and it turned out to be an elderly woman with anxiety who just needed some company 

Moments like this are moments that define your career and can make or break you. This job isn’t for the faint of heart. I dont even believe this is a job at all. It’s a calling. And nothing is going to take away my love for this career.