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
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"
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?".
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"
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
"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?".
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
"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.