I joined my EMS volunteer agency in December of 2011. At this time, I was 14, so I was a cadet. As a cadet, you can only start going on emergency calls at the age of 16. So for those first 2 years, I spent my time learning everything I could and training to be able to go on those emergency calls once I was 16. My first emergency call was May 6th 2014. I remember it like it was yesterday.
An elderly woman who had a panic attack. Nothing too bad. Then, my first cardiac arrest was October 5th, 2014. I remember everything about that day. The weather, the smells, all the people everywhere. the patient down in his driveway, his wife screaming and crying, me ventilating the patient, someone doing compressions, people just everywhere. Despite our best efforts, the patient did not make it. But that is one day, I will remember forever. So after that day, between that day and January of 2017, I had another 3 cardiac arrests, none of them made it.
I can remember all the smells of those calls as well, along with every crew member that was with me on each of those calls. Then we come to February 26th, 2017. In my department, we do shifts. So I was on the 1300-1900 shift with 3 of my favorite people. At about 16:25, we got a call for male passed out, unconscious, but breathing. So we pull up to the scene and all we see is people everywhere. This man we got called for, was in cardiac arrest, and had already had CPR started on him by his wife.
This 44 year old man was out for a bike ride with his 6 and 8 year old sons, when he just fell off his bike and hit the ground. The 6 year old runs into his house and says “Mommy, daddy fell off his bike”. The wife runs outside and sees her husband, face down, in the grass, not moving or breathing. She started CPR until the police arrived. Once my crew and I got there, we took over and tried to get this man back to life. I did compressions, one of my partners did ventilations, we had ALS getting IV’s, pushing drugs, doing IO’s.
Everything we could of possibly done, was done. We got the patient to the hospital, the hospital doctors and nurses worked on the patient for about 15 minutes. After that, they called it. The 44 year old man, with only a history of diabetes, who was out for a bike ride with his 2 young sons, was gone. Everything we did, everything the hospital staff did, and nothing. He was gone.
This particular arrest hit me hard. Just thinking about his 2 young sons who literally just watched their father die, its so heartbreaking. So we finished up at the hospital and headed back to our HQ. We got back and were only there for 20-30 minutes before we got another call. Male seizure. So we start heading over there. We get there, and this 57 year old male is laying on the dining room floor, completely purple. One of my partners checks for a pulse, nothing…Here we go again. We were exhausted from the previous call, and now the whole process was happening all over again.
Compressions, ventilations, drugs, IV’s, IO’s. Everything we had just done earlier on. We did everything the same, got the patient in the ambulance, took him to the hospital, they worked on him for 20 minutes. They pronounced him as well. Once again, the feeling of dread came over us as we couldn’t save not 1, but 2 lives in the same day. Both patients, so young, so full of life, are now gone. Their families left to grieve and my crew and I left to just go on to answer more calls on our next shifts to come together. This is certainly one shift and day I will never forget.
– Story written by an anonymous Long Island EMT