Monday, August 14, 2017

"The Baby Is In My Stocking" and that's not the only surprise

"Manhattan to 18 Boy"

"18 Boy, go Central" Sandra replies

Take it over to 110th Street and 8th Ave for the OB out (woman has already given birth).

"Ten-four, Central. On the way"

I start the vehicle up, make a quick u-turn and start heading down 7th Ave. Lights and sirens blasting in the mid-July afternoon. I learned after a while that it's not so much that people don't want to get out of your way. Sometimes they freeze, slamming on the breaks or coming to an intersection where the siren is bouncing of the buildings all around thus hard to figure out where it's coming from.

Anyway we get there quick. If the baby is already out it needs to be dried, warmed, possibly suctioned, cord needs to be cut, CPR, etc. We quickly pull up to the building and get our equipment out. We walk into the vestibule and start making our way up to the 2nd floor. Good the door is open. I hear nothing as I'm walking in. No baby crying. Mentally get myself ready to start running a code.

"In here" comes a male voice from the bedroom. We walk in and see a man and a woman on a bed. The man is laying on his left side with his head propped up by his hand and resting on his elbow. The woman, fully clothed is also laying on her left side with her head propped on his chest. Both calm as could be.

"Hello, my name is Rocco Cassetta and I'm a paramedic. How can I help you?" I ask

"I had a baby" she, well, just answers

"Where is it?" I ask as I'm looking around and see no trace of anything.

"It's in my stocking" she again just, you know answers.

Now the part I left out was this woman was big. I mean when she tipped the scales this woman tipped them. Good four hundred pounds at least. She sees me standing there dumbfounded for a second then turns on her back a bit and I see a big, round bulge between her right knee and her hip. I grab a pair of scissors and quickly cut her stocking and find she definitely had a baby. Problem is her water never broke! The baby was still in the intact amniotic sac. I looked at my partner. She's standing there with her mouth open. You see both of us were on the job for probably 3 months. Not only had neither of us ever saw this before, we were never trained in it before.

"Sandy, give me the OB kit!" I nervously ask.

I grab a scissor and poke the water balloon this child has called home for the past nine months and get drenched from the waist down in amniotic fluid.

I feel the umbilical cord and am amazed I feel it pulsating. I quickly suction, dry the kid and cut the umbilical cord. The baby is not breathing so I start mouth to mouth as my partner fumbles getting the pediatric ambu-bag (breathing apparatus) out of the bag. I them turn to my partner, hand the kid over and tell her to go to St.Luke's with the cops and I'll stay till back-up arrives. Out the door they go.

I turn to the mother "Mam, how far along where you?"

"What you mean far along"

"How many months pregnant where you?"

"I didn't even know I was pregnant!".

That was enough for me. I told her "I'm going into the hallway so I can direct the next unit where to come. Yell if you need me"


I walked out into the hallway, lit a cigarette. No moral indignation, no judgments running through my head. This is the way the world is. Get used to it or stock shelves in a supermarket. I got used to it.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Some a-hole has threatened to shoot an NYPD officer tonight. If you know an officer or are on keep an eye out and spread the word

Friday, July 7, 2017

"White motherf--ker"... between friends

That's Sy There at 7 months due

I'm sitting in the EMS station lounge during some downtime as my ambulance is getting fixed. Sitting on the couch about 5 feet across from me is my partner Sy. No Sy was not just my partner but my best friend. I was (and still am) as close to him as my own brother. We both saved each others lives several times over the years we worked together.
Again we're just sitting there hanging out went one of the chiefs walks in. A bit of an arrogant son-of a bitch. He looks at as both as he walks between us without even a sense of acknowledgment. We nod in respect to his rank as he opens the door to Sy's immediate left and begins to walk into the supervisors office. Sy turn to his left and whispers " white motherfucker". Now I'm looking right at him as he says it. I'm non-pulsed. In fact it didn't even register in my mind what he said. Now again, Sy saved my ass more times than I could think of, ; he was in my wedding party, slept over my hundred times. I swear, It didn't even register what he said. Suddenly he turned and saw me looking at him. Instead of being embarrassed and stuttering something awkward he looked me right in the eye and shouted "what the fuck you looking at motherfucker, you a nigger just like me motherfucker, just like me". At that moment I realized what he said. I shot back " Go fuck yourself. Let's get out of here before that asshole comes back". We got up like nothing and headed back to the streets.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Police Officer Killed in the Bronx Last Night... Painful Radio Transmission

The NYPD lost another officer last night when some piece of garbage walked up on her while she was seated in her patrol car and assassinated her without warning. The link provided is an audio clip of the police frequency at the time of the shooting. For some it may be painful to listen to
As a medic who worked side by side with NYPD and the brother of a retired officer my condolences and prayers go out to all the men and women in BLUE and of course the officers family.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

"My Name Is Jesus Christ"... and other vignettes

Here's a few quick ones jogged from a not so keen memory:

Me: "Hello Sir, I'm a paramedic. What seems to be the problem?"

Patient: "I'm gonna kill myself then I'm gonna kill you"

Me: "Sir as long as you keep it in that order, no problem"


Me: " Sir, what is your name?"

Patient: "Jesus Christ"

Me: "What's your birthday?"

Patient : "August 21, 1968"

Me " Really? Jesus was born on December 25!"

Patient: " Your a fucking imbecile"

Monday, May 22, 2017

Frying Up A Surprise For The Cops

Me and Steve just turn out of 136st and Lenox Avenue when the dispatcher directs us to a family shelter at 141st and Hamilton Ave. It's sort of a short term shelter for homeless families. Sort of because we've seen the same people year after year in this place.
Of course the elevator is out so here we go up 4 flights of grimy stairs, stepping on roaches and trying to avoid puddles of urine on the way up. At the third floor landing we began to hear people yelling:
"This is my motherfucking room and I don't want you in here!"
"Well listen, we were called here by someone who thinks your having a problem, now please come into the hallway with us" comes a reply. It's a female officer from the nearby precinct who was also dispatched to the call because it came in as an EDP or emotionally disturbed person. I'm ahead of Steve walking through the doorway of a small one room apartment, no more than 100 square feet. There's a man, approximately 35 years old, small build, 5'5" with an unkempt beard  with strands hanging down to his chest. He's in a white tee-shirt and tan pants. He's standing in front of a stove, right hand holding a pot of oil frying good.
"I told you get out of my fucking room man!" he yells at the two female officers
"We will if you move out into the hallway and talk to us" one of the cops yells back.
I move slowly to the side of one of the cops and position myself to where my right arm is unencumbered in the cramped room
"I told you to get the fuck o..." the guy begins to yell but before he can finish I swing my right arm and punch him right in the face. He hits the wall and falls to the floor
"What the fuck are you doing?" one of the cops screams at me while the other lunges and grabs me by my equipment belts and starts pulling me towards the door. The first cop takes out her flashlight and raises at me. "Oh shit!" I tell myself
"Why the fuck did you do that?" she screams at me again
"What the fuck is on the stove?" I scream back
She looks confused
"The scumbag was boiling oil and had a box lye next to it. He was making a Carolina Pancake to throw in your faces!" I yell back.
She looks up at the stove and lowers her flashlight. She looks white as a ghost.
"Are you kidding me? How did you know?"
"How long have you been out here?" I ask
"Close to a year"
"15 years here. Seen that shit more times than you can count"
A minute or so later the troops arrive. Cops, EMS personnel. The sergeant takes the cops down one end of the hallway and asks what happened. A few minutes later the sergeant walks over to me and Steve.
"Hey, thanks for watching out for my officers. Knew a guy 20 years ago in Brooklyn who got caught on the back with that shit. Real nasty shit"
"No problem Sarge" I say like I do this shit 20 times a day meanwhile my legs are shaking and I'm not quite certain if I wet my pants.
Walking away the sergeant turns back:
"You guys going to be at Ragg's tonight?" Ragg's is the bar on 119st many of us like to hang out at after a shift to get drunk and blow off some steam.
"Sure" I answer
"OK. First ten rounds are on them" he points to the two cops.
"Sounds good to me" I answer as we walk towards the stairs and back to the vehicle.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"He sawed his penis in half"

I usually write about my experiences as a paramedic but this one is from when I was a Physician Assistant at an Upper East Side emergency room.
Nurse "We just got a notification for a heavy bleeder coming in with a 5 minute ETA"
I follow the doc into the trauma room and check the trauma box to make sure all the equipment we may need is ready. IV's, intubation equipment, etc. Everything is there and we're ready. I walk out to the ambulance bay to meet the crew coming in. An ambulance comes screaming around the corner and stops at the curb. Stan, who I spent a lot of time riding with jumps out of the drivers seat:
"Roc, you got to fucking see this!" he says breathlessly tells me I'm in for something interesting
"What's up?" I say excitingly as I follow him to the back of the vehicle
"You gotta see this!" he answers as he swings open the back door of the ambulance.
I look in and seek a patient on the stretcher covered in what used to be a white sheet. It's now crimson colored. From the waist down.
We hurry the patient into the trauma room where the rest of the team is waiting. He's a white male about 50 years old. Slight build, light complexion. Awful toupee still fixed to his head. He's barely conscious. We transfer him onto the hospital gurney and remove the blood soaked sheets. The patient's groin is packed with a tremendous amount of gauze.
"Gunshot?" Doctor Hong asks Stan's partner who I don't recognize. Probably a new medic.
She nods "No" to Hong as she begins to remove some of the gauze. I can see her hands shaking as she works to untangle the mass of gauze which is stemming at least some of the blood flow.
She removes it completely and we all stop to catch our breath at the incredible sight before us. The patient's penis is carved almost in half from the tip down to the base. It looks like a hot dog after its been cooking while and splits almost in half. But the really incredible thing is that through each side of the lacerated penis is a purple metal earing like women used to wear in the 1970s!
The doc, gloved up and gowned to the max goes to inspect the injury and a stream of blood shoots out hitting the low overhead ceiling.
"According to his partner he's been cutting it a little bit each day for the past couple of months. When he got halfway down he put the rings in it. He kept carving until today when it looks as if he cut an artery".
I look back at the patient for a moment. Incredibly his eyes catch mine and he actually smiles a bit causing an involuntary chill to course from my head to my toes.
" He's on Remeron, Lithium, and a bunch of other psych meds" yells Yugo's partner over the commotion.
"Schizophrenic?' I ask Yugo
"You think a sane person would do something like that?" he shoots back. I shake my head and turn away afraid my reaction would seem unfit for the current situation.
"Hey Roc, call Surgery, Urology and get us some blood.  I'm going to intubate him" Doctor Hong calls out to me
"Sure Doc", I answer back. "I'll get respiratory too"
"Great. I'm probably going to have to intubate him before long"
I pick up the phone and ask the operator to page the surgeon on call. The phone rings back almost immediately
"Surgery. I was paged"
"He Doc it's Rocco from the ER"
"Hey Roc, what do you have?"
"Doc, wait till you see this!"

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Knockout Punch Stops A Molester

There was this guy we worked with who was under suspicion of using his position to molest woman. What was rumored was that he would respond to a job and if the patient was young and attractive he would revisit the home 2-3 days later and state that EMS wanted him to perform a secondary examination to make sure the patient "was ok". He would then perform an examination where he would ask the patient to remove various articles of clothing.
Now as a group we weren't a bunch of choir boys but we had a decent sense of what's right and wrong. We also had an incredible sense of pride as Harlem EMTs/Medics. So one day we were awaiting the captain to announce row call. There was about 15 of us in the lobby of the station. In walk, let's call him Lester. Now I could go on and on describing the cretin but suffice to say if you can bring up a picture of Count Chocula , with his narrow eyes, pointed nose and short, squat body then that's him exactly. Well, he comes in and he's standing there a little off to the side because he can tell that its not a friendly place for him. We pay him no mind and keep jabbing away, talking about the shooting we did last night or the bad motor vehicle accident on the West Side Highway where 3 died but the DWI driver walked away without a scratch. No one notice Sammy sitting off alone by the side, not talking to anyone, just sitting mum. Sammy was one of the senior guys at the station. A real good guy, quite but had your back in an instant if there was trouble. Well, Sammy gets up from the couch and starts walking towards the door. I look to the side to say hello to him and all of a sudden he throws a haymaker right hand which catches Lester right on the chin. Lester goes down like a hole opened up beneath him. Sammy, without losing a step keeps walking right out the door and onto the street. We all jumped when Sammy clocked him. Now we're all standing there looking at the bastard crumpled unconscious on the floor. Everyone is looking at everyone else to see what there going to do. All of a sudden Sey lifts himself from the chair, steps over Lester and walks out the door. That's all the rest of us needed. One by one we quietly walk over the wretch and onto the street. Hey, you want to pull bullshit like that you deserve what you get. If it was my daughter I wouldn't have stopped at one punch. Anyway, we're outside on the street looking into the windows. Sure enough he's still out. He's breathing. Then one of the guy's yells out " Hey, Lieutenant Connawton is leaving". Holy shit! She could really be a pain in the ass if she wants. Activist type. We watch from the window as she gathers her equipment, radio and logbook and leaves her office (right next to the lobby where the incident described above happened) and makes her way to the exit door. Without breaking stride she steps over the unconscious molester, opens the door, walks over to her car and leaves!. We all break out laughing as she drives away. She gives a grin as she passes by.
Lester was able to walk over to the ER across the street and be evaluated. He tried to bring Sammy up on charges with first the cops and then with the department but without a witness (and Sammy's 15 people that vouched for him) all was dropped due to lack of evidence. Within a week Lester was transferred out to Staten Island to a unit that cover three nursing homes there. We never heard for the son of a bitch again.

Monday, April 3, 2017

America's Hearts and Prayers to Russia Following Terror Attack

We in America pray for our Russian friends who today deal with the after effects of heinous, cowardly act of terror that has taken the lives of many innocent people.      

Friday, March 17, 2017

With Great Sadness...Death of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo

This blog is a chronicle of my experiences as a NYC Paramedic but today, with great sadness I write of the death of EMT Yadira Arroyo, a 14 year veteran who was run down by a suspected gang member who attempted to car jack her vehicle last evening. She left behind 5 children. Prayers out to her family and coworkers today.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

"10-13 Police Officer Shot!"

Steve and I are working the 5pm to 2am shift on 18 Young. We just left St. Luke's after dropping off a patient. Its 1:55 am and we're hoping to get back and not get another call. We pull up to a light on 111th street and Lenox Ave.
"Emergency transmission!!!" comes screaming from the police radio!
"10-13! Police officer shot! I'm shot central! 115 Lenox Ave in the stairwell!!!"
I turn and look and realise we are sitting in front of the building where the cop said she was. I spin the ambulance around and drive up to the door. Steve and I jump out. Steve grabs the trauma bag and we both take off into the building. We come to a staircase and turn in and up. About 3 flights up we hear the cop calling for help. "At least she's alive" I say to Steve.
We come to the 7floor, and turn the corner to the next flight when we find her. She's curled up on the stairs in front of us.
"Where were you hit?" I yell
"My chest!!"
I turn her around and see a small hole in her uniform shirt. I rip the shirt open and see a hole in her vest. Moving my head to catch the light I can see the bullet lodged in the middle of the vest. I pull it out, intact and unbloodied. The vest stopped the bullet!
About a minute goes by and the calvery com's charging up the stairs. City cops by the dozen, crews of 5 ambulances. Cops are screaming, yelling. EMS crews trying to get through the crowd to get to us and the patient. Finally we put her on a long board, get her out if the building and over to the hospital. A quick physical exam showed no other obvious injuries.
We get to St. Luke's probably 3 minutes later and already the street is crowded with news cameras. We take her out of the ambulance and take her into the ER.
I was driving that night so Steve was the writer that night. He goes into the ER to present his patient. I duck out for a quick smoke. I walk to the sidewalk opposite the hospital and am about to light a cigarette when up comes 18 Patrol, my street supervisor, looking like he'd just seen a ghost.
"Hey, Lieutenant! We're good" I begin to say but then I'm jolted to silence by something I recalled while treating the officer. Her name tag said "Cook". " Oh shit! Lieutenant she's just fine! I'm telling you! Calm down she's fine!" Lieutenant, your sister's OK!"

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A little about my blog

Hello all and thank you for allowing me into the group.
I was a NYC EMT/Paramedic from 1986 until I became a Physician Assistant in 2001. I mostly worked the Harlem, NYC area. Sometimes I get the itch to tell of a memory or experience from that time which I usually call the best time of my life until about 5 years ago when I met my partner Priscilla.
Some of the post may be funny, some may be gross, some may be sad but they are all 100% real. My kids range in age from 14 to 3 years old. I'd like them remembering me as not only some dottering, senile fool but as someone who felt he did something a bit important. So please your welcomed to come laugh or cry with me as I take an erratic trip down memory lane on
Thank you,

Death Over My Right Shoulder

We respond to a call for an "unknown condition" at 132st and Madison Ave.Unkown condition, Cold as Hell out. Lowest priority call, cops aren't dispatched. Arrive to find a man laying in a pool of blood on the street corner. Can't find out exactly what happened. It's night and so much blood. The guy, about 30 years old is barely breathing. I get out a bag valve mask and start assisting respirations as my partner goes to the back of the ambulance to get a spine board. I'm trying to breath for the guy at the same time trying to stem the flow of blood at the base of his head. Over my right shoulder:
"Yo is he gonna be ok?'
I've got enough on my hands than to deal with bystanders.
"Yo, is he gonna be ok?"
"Yo is he gonna be ok?
At least 5 damn times. I can't take it anymore
"He's going to be ok, Chill!" I yell without turning around
An instant later a chill goes up my spine as I hear in a low, matter of fact voice:
"No he's not"
Over my right shoulder goes what looks like a 9mm.


The bullets tear into my patient's chest and stomach. So quick it was I didn't have time to duck and the guys is hotfooting it down Madison Ave.
With church bells going off in my right ear I call a 10-13 (unit needs help) while running across the street and ducking (yea, now!) behind a parked car.
My patient probably had a 1% chance of survival when we arrived. Now he had none.