Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Hop, Skip and a JUMP off the Brooklyn Bridge

It's a beautiful September Saturday morning in lower Manhattan. Mark and I are working 11 Victor. It's a part time job for both of us.Every Saturday, 7am to 11pm. We had stopped in our favorite deli on Carmine Street, picked up some bagels and cream cheese and headed back down to our area. We just finish (thankfully) our breakfast when the dispatcher gives us a yell
"11 Vic for the diff breather"
Mark answers "11 Vic, send it over". The call comes over the computer. We read the text and find that our "diff breather" is actually a 34 year old male who has been constipated for a week.Just as we're about to start griping we hear over the police radio
" 5 John"
"5 John, central'
"John I'm getting numerous calls for a jumper up on the Brooklyn Bridge"
"5 John on the way"
Mark and I look up quick. We had been eating our breakfast right at the entrance to the bridge.
"Mark", I yell excitingly "Jump on it! Jump on it'
Mark slams the vehicle into drive and we lurch towards the bridge. Thirty seconds later we're mid-span
"Rocco, there he is!" yells Mark as he points to my right.
Sure enough there is a man standing on the outside edge of the bridge. Below him nothing but two hundred feet of air and the East River.
I grab the mic
"11 Vic to central with an urgent transmission"
"Vic go ahead"
"Central be advised we have been flagged for a jumper up on the Brooklyn Bridge. Confirmed job central! Get us PD and ESU!"
"10-4 Vic. Be careful" the dispatcher responds.
Mark and I get out of the vehicle and slowly make our way over to the man. He's standing on a ledge that is about two feet lower than the roadway we're standing on.He's about 35 years old, a bit disheveled, wearing a tan overcoat and a fishing hat.. He's looking down at the water
Mark speaks up
"Hello sir, we are paramedics. We're here to help you".
The guy raises his head almost nonchalantly, looks both me and Mark up and down, turns his head away and lets go!
"Holy shit" me and Mark scream out in unison. We immediately look over the edge to see him cartwheeling through the air just before smacking the water so hard that that we could almost feel it above.
Mark and I run back to the ambulance
'11 Vic emergency transmission"
Dispatcher "All units stand by. 11 Vic go"
"Central be advised he jumped! Jumper down in the water!"
"10-4 Vic. I'll advise PD"
"Mark, go into Brooklyn" I gasp out short of breath
"That's where I'm headed" he responds back
We're about to leave the bridge into Brooklyn when we hear the police dispatcher calling us over the police radio
"EMS for the Brooklyn Bridge on the air"
I pick up the mic
"EMS central"
"EMS meet harbor at Pier 17 on the Manhattan side"
" 10-4 central"
Mark spins the ambulance in a u-turn and we're back on our way to Manhattan. We exit the bridge. Mark hangs a left and there is Pier 17 a block in front of us. As we get closer we see the harbor cops.
"Mark!, I turn to my partner, "You gotta be fucking kidding me! Do you see what I see"
Mark responds back to me in the same incredulous way, "I see it but I can't fucking believe it!"
Up ahead walking towards us are 4 harbor cops. Between them walks none other than our flying friend from the bridge, upright and in handcuffs.
One of the cops looks at me and Mark and starts laughing "close your mouths before you get flies in them'
He goes on to explain that they were going under the bridge as the call came in . They actually saw the guy jump and then us peer over.
"Lucky son of a bitch. As soon as he hit the water we scooped him up" the cop said still chuckling.
Mark and I proceeded to place the patient in a protective neck collar and put him down on a plastic backboard to protect against possible spine injury.We cut all his clothes of looking in vain for any type of injury. Due the the nature of the accident we took him to Bellevue, a trauma center. On the way I asked him why he did it. All he said was "Could you please call my girlfriend up and tell her what I did". Satisfied with his roundabout answer to my question I assured him that I would call his girlfriend.
Arriving at the hospital we wheel him inside and to the trauma room where the nurse signs my call report legally relieving me of custody of the patient. Walking out of the emergency room Mark looks over at me and asks
"Roc, did you ask why he jumped'
"Yep" I answered
"What was it?"
I stop walking and answer "What the fuck do you think it was?"
Mark looks at me, eyes wide and his right hand covering his mouth, "A fucking woman?!"
"You got it brother" I answer. We both walk over to the ambulance shaking our heads and laughing. It's only 10 am; we got another 11 hours to go

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Shocking Delivery: "My Sister's Got Something Hanging Out Of Her Vagina Looks Like A Rope

Working a 3pm-11pm shift on 18 Boy. My regular partner called in sick so I'm working with Sandra. Usually when your partner calls  in sick they stick you with anyone in the borough who doesn't have a partner that day. Usually it's some asshole who no one wants to work with. This wasn't the case with Sandra. A wonderful person to work with.
We're sitting at 125th Street and Seventh Avenue when the dispatcher pipes up
"18 Boy on the air"
"18 Boy" I respond
"Boy, take it over to 141 and 7th for the labor"
"18 Boy, 1063 (on the way)
About 4 minutes later we pull up in front of the address. The building is a 5 story brick. Of course our patient is on the 5th floor. We grab our equipment and start climbing the stairs. We arrive at the 3rd floor and are met by a child, a young girl about 6 years old.
"Please hurry" she implores grabbing my hand
I look down at her
"OK, sweetheart. Don't worry. We're here to help. Can you tell me what happened"
Without hesitation she answers
"My sister got something hanging out her vagina looks like a rope!"
Our stair climbing now becomes a sprint. We run into the apartment and into a back bedroom. Laying there is a young lady, naked from the waist down. And just like the little girl said there was something sticking out of her vagina that looked like a rope. The girl was 8 months pregnant and been having labor pains for several hours.The problem in this case was that instead of the baby presenting first the umbilical cord presented first. The greatest danger here was that the baby was laying upon the cord cutting off circulation and thus the baby's oxygen supply. I felt the cord. There was no pulse. "Shit", I said to myself. There's only one way to get blood flowing into that cord again.
I turn to the bystanders peering through the open door and yell out
"Is the father of the child here"
A young man about 18 steps forward
"Yeah, that's my girlfriend" he replies
"Listen, brother I gotta do something that ain't gonna look to cool but it's the only way we'll be able to save the baby's life"
He looks at me as if in a daze. Finally he says "Man, do whatever you got to do"
I turn back towards the patient. I hurriedly put on a pair of gloves. I place my fingers into her vagina. I feel the baby's head. It's laying right on the cord. I manipulate my fingers to where I lift the baby's head off the cord. With my other hand I feel the cord. A pulse! Alright! Now all I have to do is make sure the cord is not wrapped around the baby as it delivers, we don't want it pulling on the placenta and ripping it from the uterus. She'd bleed to death before our eyes. So there I am, my hand inside a pregnant girl's vagina while being watched by my partner, a backup crew and 3 cops. After about 5 minutes it begins to dawn on me that this baby is not going to deliver any time soon.So I ask Sandra to get the stretcher. And there I found myself, hand up the vagina down 5 flights of stairs, through a crowded street, a 5 minute drive to the hospital and a trip up to labor and delivery. By the time we dropped her off my hand was cramping so badly I thought I was paralyzed. The patient was rushed into the delivery room were the obstetrician did her magic and delivered the baby.
Making it back down to the ambulance Sandra brings me a soda she bought at the corner bodega. She hands it to me.
She looks at me with a sly look on her face, "That was fun! We should do that again" and she breaks out laughing.
I look at her "Sandra we get into shit like that again your gonna be the one catching. And I hope she's having fucking triplets!"

Disembowled On The FDR

Ch-- and I are sitting at a red light at 106th Street and Second Avenue when the dispatchers calls.
"Manhattan to 18 Young"
"!8 Young, central" I answer
"18 Young take it over to 104th Street and the FDR for a motorcyclist down"
"10-4 Central . We're 63 (responding to the call)
Ch-- hangs two rights and we're traveling northbound up Third Avenue. Plan is to get on the FDR at 116th Street and head south. We enter at 116st and already the traffic is backed up half a mile. Fortunate for us this part of the highway actually has a sidewalk. Over the curb we go and are at the scene in about three minutes.
"18 Young 10-88 (on the scene)"
"18 Young  10-4. Be advised you have 15 Willie coming up from the south"
"10-4 central. Will advise"
Pulling up we see a motorcycle laying on its side in the middle lane. About twenty feet further on we see a man standing against the spiked guard rail, bent over at the waist. Its now just about dark and even with the passing car headlights it's hard to see. He looks to be trying to pick something off the floor. Charlie and I approach.
"Sir," Ch-- calls out, "are you OK?"
The man lifts his head and looks at us. His skin is ashen gray and he is sweating profusely.
 "I gotta get this" he answers, gasping
Ch-- and I are about five feet away from him now.
"Holy shit, Ch--! Holy fucking shit" I stammer to my partner. at that close distance I was able to finally see what it was the patient was trying to pick off the pavement. It was a loop of his intestines!
"Rocco, grab him I'm going to get the long board and stretcher". Ch-- yells and runs back towards the ambulance. I'm standing there holding the guy up while he struggles with me to continue to grab at his now filthy intestines laying on the roadway.
Ch--'s back in an instant. With difficulty we lay the guy down on the stretcher. It's then we see the extent of his injuries. The patient is ripped wide open from just above his groin to just below his breastbone. I mean wide open to where we could see all the organs in his abdomen.
Just then 15 Willie pulls up. Ray comes running over
"Hey guys,  whatcha g... Holy Shit!" Rays eyes are big as saucers to match mine and Ch--. Now we were all seasoned medics, Ch-- and Ray more than me. We've seen things that would turn a brunette gray in minutes. The guys injuries were terrible but we've seen severe injuries like this before. There was one small difference, though. This guy was still alive! That's what it was that was freaking us out so much, he wasn't dead!
We strapped the patient onto the stretcher. 15 Willie's vehicle was closer than ours so we placed the patient in the back. Ch-- jumped in to assist 15 Willie's crew member. I followed them to the trauma center. By then he was unconscious. Half hour later he was gone.
I waited outside for Ch--. He came out, opened the passenger door and sank into the seat.
I turned to Ch--
"That was unfucking believable" I said still astonished
"Holy shit! How that guy lived that long? I can't believe it", Ch-- replies
"What happened on the way in?" I ask my partner
"Well we gave him oxygen, popped two I.V.'s in him. All the way in he kept asking Am I Going To Die? Am I Going To Die?. It took every ounce of my strength to stop  from yelling YES ! YOU ARE GOING TO DIE"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Playgirl Spread, A Hostage Situation And The Joke's On Me

"19 Adam on the air" asks the dispatcher
:19Adam', answers The Fox
"Take it over to 155 and Bway for the possible hostage situation"
"10-4" answers 19 adam
I'm working 18 boy with Trib. !9Adam's sector borders on mine so we decide to got ever and take a look at what's going on. 19 Adam's bus is parked just off on 155 street with the ambulance's ass end in the cross walk on Broadway. We pull up and get out out.
The fox is working with his regular partner Webb. We walk over to the front of the ambulance.
'Hey Foxx-, what's going on?
"Bullshit hostage situation. They're not even sure if there's anyone in the apartment. They just got a call about it, nothing else"
Sounds like just a waste of time. It's about  8pm on a Spring night so of course there's a stadium-sized crowd hanging around waiting for the shooting to begin. Me and Trib get back in the bus. As we drive away one of us comes up with an idea. Trib gets out at a magazine store and picks up a copy of PlayGirl magazine. We rip the pictures out and sneak up on 19 Adam. We unwittingly catch the attention of some of the people in the crowd. We put our fingers to our lips asking them not to let on to what we're doing. We the proceed to tape all the nude male photos contained in the magazine to the back doors of their ambulance, quietly laughing our asses of. We drive off still laughing. About half an hour later a low voice comes over the radio "Nice Rocco, real nice". again me and Trib break up in hysterics. Just then Trib asks me to drive over to his mother's house on Fort Washington Avenue. She always cooked a meal for us about the same time. We pull up, get out and walk the 4 floors to a feast fit for a king. Thankfully we didn't get a call the entire 15-20 minutes we spent eating. Thanking his mom, we descend back down to the street, get in the vehicle and drive off. At Fort Wash and Bway I make a right and proceed south on the three lane street. It's not more than a block when we start to notice that every car that passes us has its horn blaring and the occupants hysterical laughing. At about 145 Street and Bway we come to a light. A cab pulls up beside me honking his horn. I open my window and ask 'what's up?", The driver laughing hysterically points behind him and says "yo man, look at the back of your ambulance". I pull to the curb and we both jump out and walk to the back of the ambulance. Hung to the back of our  ambulance is a piece of cardboard big enough to cover it entirely. It contains a message written in large letters using yellow spray paint, "GAY PARAMEDICS! HONK FOR YOUR SUPPORT!". At first me and Trib are stunned. A moment later we're both laughing so hysterically we can't stand up straight. We remove the sign and get back into the front of the ambulance. I pick up the microphone and whisper "Nice Foxx, ya got me". No answer except for another unit pressing their microphone's button with the sounds of hysterical laughter in the backround.

First Tour at Station 18

June 15, 1987
Here I am. 23 year old white kid from The Bronx standing  at roll call in a place called Harlem, a place for me as foreign for me as as can be. For a white kid young as I was the misconceptions were boundless. My knees shook, I perspired freely, a true as heel deer-in-the -headlights as you'll ever find.
Lt.Martin starts roll call, welcomes me and three other "provisionals" to the station and then starts to give out our assignments. Mine was to ride on 17Charlie with S---. S was about 6 feet tale, sure of himself, loud as a son of a bitch. I overheard him relate to himself as a 'traumatologist and I don't need to be working with no fucking rookie". Hearing that my knees started to shake so bad you'd think you were listening to Kieth Moon performing a solo for the who the way they were knocking together. I pick up my equipment and follow S-- to the bus. I put my equipment in the side and proceed to check the bus for equipment. S-- calls out loudly from the front seat:
" Yo rookie, what the fuck yo doing back there"
"Um, um, I'm checking out the bus"
S-- yells back " Yo rookie, this is my fucking bus, you think I don't know what's on it?
Not feeling the slightest inclination to argue I drop whatever it is I'm doing, stumble out the side door and, like a lamb entering a lion's cage, I plant my ass gingerly in the passenger seat.
S-- turns and looks at me. He's got these thick rimmed glasses like, I'm not sure if it was Run or DMC used to wear:
"Ok, listen motherfucker. These are the rules. I drive, I talk on the radio, I do what the fuck I want. All you got to do is take care of the patient. Understand?".
I nod my head in the affirmative because my mouth is so dry the words would have gotten stuck.
"Oh, yeah. Were you from?
I meekly answer "the Bronx"
"Well on more rule I got. Don't come to Harlem like those dumb motherfuckers from Long Island and start trying to speak jive! Don't even try that shit!".
More furiously I nod my head in the affirmative. S-- begins to pull out into the street muttering "motherfucker. Gotta work with a rookie can't even speak".
S-- goes up the wrong way on 136 Street and hangs a quick right on Lenox Avenue. We ride north past 137st, 138st up to 145st and Lenox Avenue. S-- hangs a.right and begins to drive over a bridge. "Welcome To The Bronx' the sign says. To scared to perspire I'm not even asking why we're going into the Bronx. S-- drives about 3 blocks and hangs a quick u-turn stopping right in front of what appears to be a bar so old I was expecting to see a plaque proclaiming "George Washington drank here". A rel hole in the wall if there ever was one.
S-- is has a foot on the street before he puts the bus in park.
"Wait here" he tells me as he disappears into this place whose sign reads " Glackens". Heh, where the fuck am I going? So I sit and wait looking to my right at a group of buildings I would soon discover is called the Polo Grounds. About 5 minutes later s-- comes strolling back out. In each hand he holds what looks like a Carvel Cup.he comes over to my open window and passes me one of the cups. He proceeds to walk around to the front and slides into the driver's seat. He looks at me and says "yo man , drink up. That shit cost me 5 dollars" "What is it", I ask. S-- starts laughing out loud, " the first word out of the rookie's mouth is a question. What the fuck you give a shit, drink it". Intimidated as hell and swearing that tomorrow I would go back to the Botanical Gardens and ask for my janitor back I took a small sip. About 5 seconds later my ears started to burn. But it was good! I had a little more, and a little more and soon I felt the anxiety begin to ebb away. The neighborhood became softer, almost like a melody. Soon I was even smiling. I looked at S-- feeling much less anxious, "Hey, what is this". S-- starts laughing, "man that's called a VC. Enough liquor in there to knock someone out. Why you like it" S-- asks me with a quizzical look on his face. "Yeah', I answer "can we go back later and get another one?". S-- pulls the bus over to the curb, extends his hand to me and says, "you passed the test. Welcome to Harlem".

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Rocco, We In Boo Coo Trouble" A Fire And Two People Shot

I'm working a 5pm-1 am shift with Mike. The dispatcher sends us over to 125 Street and Broadway to standby at a fire. The NYFD would usually request an ambulance to stand by at a decent sized fire just in case one of the firemen got hurt. We pull up, park our vehicle close enough to get anyone out quickly but not to where we'd get stuck by some other emergency vehicle coming on to the scene. and we wait. The fire is in a row of stores. It's mostly an exterior attack, no firemen inside. And there we sit for two hours, drinking coffee, BS'ing with the cops (this was before the EMS-FDNY merger. The firemen really didn't want to bother with us. they kind of looked down on us. The feeling was definitely mutual).
It's now about two hour later. not a spark can be seen. Not a whiff of smoke in the air. some of the firetrucks have been packed up and are leaving. The rest are being readied. It's at this time that a cop comes running over to me, 'Hey, you guys listening to this?". The cop puts his radio up in volume and I hear:
"Central where are the damn buses for 127 and 7 ave? We got two people shot and they're both going out of the picture. We need an 85 forthwith , large crowd central". So he's got two people shot on the street, they both look as if they're dying and he's got a large, angry crowd around him"
"32 George", the dispatcher answers "EMS says no available units! In the 32, 32 George is calling an 85 forthwith for crowd control, units respond'
I look at Mike. He looks at me and we both look at the fire scene. most of the firemen are hanging around smoking cigarettes and bullshitting.
"Mike fuck this" I say hurriedly "let's get the fuck outta here"
"10-4" Mike responds. We jump into the ambulance. I grab the radio. "18 boy to central"
"18 Boy, go"
"Central, we've been released from the fire scene no injuries. put us going to 127 and 7 for two confirmed shot'
"18 Boy, you took the words right out of my mouth' answers the dispatcher.
Mike slams the bus into drive and we fly like lunatics, wrong side of the street, wrong way up one way streets at 60-70 mph. About three minutes later we arrive on the scene. there's got to be a crowd of at least 5000 people out there going nuts. We pull up and it starts "How come it took you so long motherfuckers, if this was Park Avenue downtown you would have been here 20 minutes ago" "Motherfuckers, they going to die because of you slow-assed motherfuckers' We make our way through the crowd. There lay two black males, both about twenty years old, both not breathing, both shot in the face. We rip open our trauma bags and start to ventilate both patients. To our relief I hear we hear that 16 Willie, a medic unit has just been freed from dropping a patient off at St. Luke's Hospital and is coming to back us up. So me and Mike keep ventilating the patients to the shouts of 'motherfucker", "if they die you die", etc.. 16 willie pulls up about 4 minutes later. They run over with long boards and stretchers. We package the patients for transport. Each ambulance gets a patient. since me and mike are both less trained Emergency Medical Technicians at the time, we drive as the medics treat the patient in each vehicle. My guy is ready first. So I take off to Harlem Hospital with the medic in the back with the patient.Mike is about two minutes behind me driving 16 Willie's ambulance.
It takes me only a few minutes to arrive at Harlem Hospital. I make a wide sweeping turn and begin to back up into the ambulance bay when my radio starts going off
"15 Patrol to central" 15 Patrol is the street boss for the tour
"Central to 15 Patrol'
"Central get me 5 BLS units to 125 Street and Broadway"
"10-4 15 Patrol"
"Motherfucker" I inadvertently yell and punch the steering wheel. Fucking firemen put out the fire. Now, looking for a day or two off they're swarming around the Patrol Supervisor with complaints like " Ah, yeah there guy. I pulled a hose and felt something pull in my back", "Ah, yeah I was taking down a door and part of it hit me in the elbow". Nothing serious but man am I fucked! I left the scene without being released by the fire chief.
I back the bus in, get the patient out and run him into the trauma room where the medical staff takes over. I run back outside to give mike a hand. I get outside  just as he's pulling up. He opens his window as the vehicle is still moving and yells in a shaky voice, "Rocco! We in Boo Coo trouble! We in Boo Coo trouble!', as if i don't know myself. So I help him in with the patient. It takes us about 10 minutes to do our side of the paperwork. Just as I'm finishing I hear my unit being called on the radio
'18 Boy are you on the air?"
"18 Boy central'
"18 Boy, when your done 10-3 the dispatcher". They want me to call the dispatcher.
I dial the number. My hand feels like it weighs a hundred pounds.
"This is 18 Boy'
"Rock, what's up ? It's John" . John and i worked together on the streets a few times. Real nice guy.
"Hey John, what's up' I reply, knowing full well 'what's up'.
"Dude, call your old lady, she's at St. Luke's" he advises me. My "old lady' is my girlfriend at the time, Ann. She's also an Emergency Medical Technician and was on one of the units that responded to 15 Patrol's request for ambulances to the fire that I left at 125 Street and Broadway. So I call her.
"Hey, babes, what's up". She reply's "Don't worry about the fire. I transported the fire captain and told him what happened and he said not to sweat it'. "Your fucking kidding me " I almost yell as everyone looks towards me. 'Nah, don't sweat it. It's OK". Listen', I reply, "let me go tell Mike before he hangs himself in the bathroom". I look through the bay windows and see mike standing there biting his finger nail with with one hand and smoking with the other. I step outside. Mike looks at me nervously. I start to laugh. "Mike, chill. My old lady transported the captain and explained what happened. He said there was no problem". Mike looks at me dumbstruck for a moment, then start to smile and breaks out laughing. "you motherfucker, I need a fucking drink". "Me too, Mike" I reply laughing in relief. With ten minutes to go in the tour we were done for the night. Three hours and three six packs later and we were still laughing at our dumb luck.

"You Don't Want to Come In Here" With A Gun Between The Eyes

So me and John are sitting at 125 st and 12th Ave eating some pizza when the radio cackles:
"18 Boy" calls the dispatcher
"18 boy central" my partner answers back
"Pick up the unknown condition 129 Street and 5 Avenue"
"10-4 central, were on the way"
There is nothing we hated more than the job type "unknown condition". It means someone picked up a phone, requested and ambulance and hung up. It could be anything. Furthermore since an "unknown condition" is a low priority call it meant the cops wouldn't be responding with us.
We pull up to a dilapidated  3 story brownstone building on 129 street between 5th  and Madison avenues. We get out our equipment including trauma bag, oxygen and folding wheelchair. We walk through the front door and up to the second floor over creaking, debris strewn stairs. It's midday but because there is only one grimy hall way window that faced the opposite side of where the sun was shinning and no hallway lights it may as well been early evening.
We finally make our way up to the second floor and begin to search for the apartment our supposed patient is in. So damned quiet in there it made my ears ring. We finally find our apartment at the end of the hallway. the door is about one-third ajar. the apartment silent. "EMS, anyone call for an ambulance" I call out. No answer. I move closer to the door, peer through the opening and am about to call in when I see a man inside the apartment about fifteen feet from me. "EMS, this is EMS" I shout. I put my hand on the door and push it open to about halfway. Immediately the door is pushed back at me. Seems someone is behind the door. I push back and the door pushes back towards me. " You don't wanna come in here" scowls a deep voice from behind the door. I answer "but Sir the person on the floor looks like he needs help". "I said you don't wanna come in here" is the response.
Now i don't know why i did what I did next. Maybe I was aggravated by having the door shoved in my face twice, I was concentrating on the patient who looked, if not dead then very seriously injured, but I then shoved the door as hard as I could and began to step into the apartment. "I told you you didn't wanna fucking come in here" screams the guy on the other side as he now steps out from behind the door. My testicles turn to ice cubes. He's about 30 years old, black as night about 6 foot and well over 200 pounds. He's sweating profusely and in his right hand is the biggest, ugliest gun I have ever seen. Up it comes right between my eyes. "how many fucking time you got to be told motherfucker, DON'T COME IN HERE". I don't move a muscle. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest but I'm not sure if I'm breathing. "alright Sir, sorry. I'm going to step out now". "GET THE FUCK OUT" is my answer. So I slowly  put down my equipment looking straight past the gun and at him. "We're leaving". all I could think about was a saying I heard once, 'you'll never hear the click". I back out of the doorway which puts me out of sight of my new found friend and his semi-automatic friend.I made it down to the street, along with my partner in such a hurry i don't remember the trip down.
"18 Boy, emergency transmission"
"All units stand by', responds the dispatcher, "18 boy what's up'
"Central man with a gun, possible DOA in the apartment"
"18 Boy are you in the apartment?'
"Negative central, we've left the apartment. We're safe down in the street"
"Stay the Boy, I'm getting PD there forthwith"
The radio really comes to life,
"18 Young put us on their back'
"17 Charlie we're going"
"16 Charlie we're two blocks away'
"Who ever is going , go. Just keep the radio clear for Boy"
Withing just a couple of minutes the street is jammed with ambulances, police cars. Supervisors from the entire borough show up.
Lt. Martin comes up to me 'you OK!"
"We're OK, Liu, just a little shaken'
'Alright, go back to the end of the street. Have a cigarette and chill out"
"Yes, Sir'
It took about two hours for the police to enter the apartment and place my gun-totting friend into custody. that's when we got the story. the dead man on the floor was my adversary's brother. they were both involved in stealing tokens from the subway. they would put something in the token slot. when a person placed a token into the subway turnstile it would get caught by the surface. Than he our his brother would suck it out.they would then resell them at a discount to other subway riders.According to the cops the brothers had a disagreement regarding how the money was being divvied up. One word led to another, a gun was pulled, a brother shot. Never again did i go pushing on an open door, at least without knocking first.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Difficulty Breathing, Fat Paramedics and A Riot

Steve and I are working 5pm-1am shift on 18 Young.
"18 Young", crackles the dispatcher
"!8 Young , central"
"Young pick up the diff breather, 155 st and St. Nick. Its on the way over to your computer"
" 10-4. 18 young, on the way"
Steve doesn't like to drive so I'm at the wheel. Light and sirens we fly up from 125st/8th ave and make it to the scene in about 5 mins. The text on the KDT advises that it is a 68 year old female having chest pain and difficulty breathing. Its a walk up so we bring out the chair along with the cardiac monitor, drug bag and oxygen bag and make our way to the third floor. We arrive at the apartment and find the door open. Looking inside I could see the woman sitting on the side of the bed looking to be in moderate respiratory distress. We announce our arrival and begin to open the door. A man, about 45 years old comes out of a room to our right
"Please help my mother, she's having an asthma attack" he begs us. He doesn't give any indication that he's agitated or anything.
We walk over to the patient and I take a listen to her lungs and turn to Steve, "She's wheezing but not that bad. I'll start her on a nebulizer and put a line in her"
"No problem," answers Steve "I'll go get some info from the son"
I start her on a nebulizer, take her vital signs and am about to put an IV in her when I hear something strange. I look to my right and there is Steve and the son each with his hands around the others throat, locked on to each other like enraged pitbulls. I drop the needle and instinctively pick up my radio:
"18 YOUNG TO CENTRAL, 85 FORTHWITH!" I yell over Manhattan Central radio and jump into the fray.
Now the woman, with whatever air she could draw into her lungs starts screaming. Meanwhile the three of us slam into a cabinet causing an assortment of dishes, cups, saucers to come crashing down upon us. At the same time four of the woman's family members, living close by and having been made known of the woman's illness, come through the door see us tussling with the son on the floor and without more ado proceed to jump into the fray and start kicking and punching the shit out of me and Steve. It wasn't easy laying there trying to stop the son from cutting off my partner's air supply at the same time trying to protect my head from the pummeling we were both receiving from the Four Horseman(well, 2 horsemen and 2 horsewomen) of the Apocalypse recently arrived. Seconds later I hear sirens and hear the screeching of tires. About five ambulances pull up, quickly adding ten to the seven already taking part in this melee. Behind them are two cops who see whats going on and immediately call a "1013" (officer needs help). Soon we add fifteen cops to the total. It's like a wild west barroom brawl.
It took about 10 minutes before both sides were separated and the family members were placed in handcuffs. I turn to go back to make sure the woman is alright but i see one of the medics from another unit was already taking a look at her.
I turn to Steve, "What the fuck happened?", barely able to get the words out.
"I went to talk to the son. On the way I opened the refrigerator to check if the woman had insulin in there", Steve answers breathing hard.
"The next thing I know the son grabs me and accuses me of trying to steal his food?"
"Are you kidding me"?, I ask incredulously.
"No! He grabbed me and said, You fat motherfucking EMS people don't get enough to eat now you gonna steal my food"?
"Un-fucking believable"
"Yeah, Rock, he must have thought I already got something in my mouth because that's when he grabbed my throat"
When he said this, everyone within earshot cracked up including one of the now detained family family members. If you had know Steve you would have known he did not mean this as a joke. Meek as hell (but also strong as hell) he was not one to make jokes. And that's what made it all the more funnier.
In the end, the sick woman was transported by another medic unit. Steve and I declined to press charges on the family members (we actually felt bad for them, they didn't know what was going on when they walked in). By the way, the son was also transported to the hospital. No he wasn't injured, he was schizophrenic and hadn't taken his meds in the past several days.
First job of the tour, 7 hours to go and we already got our asses kicked. Making our way back to the ambulance, we're putting our equipment away just as the dispatcher calls us on the radio:
"18 Young this is Manhattan, please answer the radio"
I pipe up "18 Young, central the original patient has been transported to 07(Harlem Hospital) by 19 Vick, 18 Boy has the son and is transporting him also to 07"
"10-4. Young, are you and your partner alright?"
We looked at each other, shrugged "Central", I keyed up "that's a 4, we're okay"
"Good 18 Young because I'm holding a man stabbed on Ward's Island, PD is confirming"
"10- 4 Central, show us 63" (en route to the call)
I look at Steve "It's gonna be one long fucking night"
He nods his head wearily
"And stay the fuck away from any refrigerators for the rest of the night".
We laughed hysterically the entire way to the call

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two Broken Arms and a Surprise

Steve and I are working the evening shift when the dispatcher calls our unit:

"Manhattan to 18 Young"

I pick up the microphone " 18 Young , central'

"18 Young I have no basic units available could you pick up the injury at 141st and 7th avenue"

'18 Young , that's a 4 we're on the way" I answer

About 3 minutes later we pull up at a 5 story building. Our job, of course is on the 5th floor. No elevator. We arrive at the apartment to find the door half opened.

"EMS" I call out "did someone call an ambulance?".

"Yes', a weak female voice answers back "I called"

Steve and I walk into the apartment to find a woman, about 40 years old seated on a sofa. surrounding her are 4 small children. The room was dark with only a faint light bulb providing a bit of light but right away I could see what her problem was. Both her wrists were grossly broken, both turned at terrible angles in relation to her forearms.

"Mam, my name is Rocco . I'm a paramedic. What happened?".

She answers back "My husband beat me with a broom stick. He hurt my arms" she states in a voice I initially took for an unnatural calmness. Turned out to be pain accompanied by fear.

 "Your husband was taken away by the police?" , I ask not expecting her answer

"No he's in the bedroom with his kid watching television"

So Steve and I initiate treatment including making sure that blood flow was not interupted to her hands. We then proceed to spllint her arms. Steve is finishing up when I walk over to the bedroom. I knock on the door.

"Yeah" comes and answer sounding annoyed and bored at the same time

"Sir, we are going to have to transport your wife to the hospital. would you be able to watch the children?".

"No", he answers abruptly "I'm only watching my kid". On his chest is cradled an infant fast asleep. I want to grab the nearest blunt object I could find and cold-cock the bastard but didn't want to make a bad situation worse so I retreat from the bathroom. Me and Steve than make sure all the children are dressed warmly before our descent back down the 5 flights of stairs and into the ambulance. Once inside the ambulance I pick up my my radio and ask the dispatcher to have a unit from the 32 precinct to respond to our location for an assault. We wait a few minutes then observe a police unit come screeching around the corner coming within inches of our bumper. I was a bit surprised how quickly they responded . I didn't indicate to the dispatcher that it was an emergency. Before the police car even come to a stop one of the cops jumps out from the passenger side. He's about 5 foot 5 inches , stocky with a bad toupee. He runs up to the ambulance rips open the back door. What he says next shocked me so I can still hear his voice almost 20 years later.

"What the f--k is wrong with you" he screams at the woman, " didn't I tell you that if I arrested him for breaking your arms i would have to arrest you for scratching his face, now go to the f--cking hospital". He then proceeds to slam the door closed so hard the whole vehicle shook. That's when I realized what happened. This little prick had responded to the apartment before, had better things to do than make an arrest and spend time getting in touch with Child Welfare authorities. Seeing that the man had a small scratch on his face he told the woman that if he had to arrest one he had to arrest them both and that her kids would then be taken to foster care. The woman, frightened enough declined to have charges brought against the husband. The cop then went downstairs and told his dispatcher that it was only a dispute. Our calling back made him look bad which enraged the crap out of him.
Now us medics and the cops we worked with had a rule. We back up each other, we look out for each other and we never, ever rat on each other.  We get to the hospital and proceed over to the triage nurse. We give her the story of what happened. She asks our patient "So honey, you called the police and had him arrested, right?". The patient looks at me, I look at Steve. It's just then one of the kids , no more than 5 years old pipes up "the cop yelled at my mother and said he was going to arrest her then he left and step-dad went back to sleep" . The nurse then looked at me and Steve. We just shrugged and looked away embarrassingly. That's all she needed. She called the hospital administrator. After hearing from the nurse she looked angrier than the cop! We than had the nurse sign our ambulance call report and walked over to our station which was about half a block away. We were standing outside BS'ing with some of the other units when we saw 3 police cars pull up to the emergency room. One was occupied by the precinct commander, the next by the sargent and lastly the police car that responded to our call a short while earlier. Slowly out came both officers including the SOB that yelled at the broken up woman. Funny, he looked like he had lost a bit of the spring he had in his step and a bit shorter than the 5 foot 5inches he looked before. Steve and I looked at each other without expression, got back in our ambulance and headed back out into the night.