Every EMT Has One Day That Changed Their Life. This Was Mine.
The city bus was soaked with blood, the patient was fading fast, and the first cop who showed up turned around and puked.
Illustrations by Elliot Snowman
“Mark my words, there is going to be that one call. That one call is going to change your life. It’s going to change how you see the world, if you can even walk away from it to begin with. Consider it your rite of passage.”
—My EMT/Paramedic Instructor, September 2013
October 2014 — “I’m scared,” she said. Scared was an understatement. The woman looked downright terrified. “I’m scared too.” The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. I cursed myself. We weren’t supposed to let them see our emotions. That was rule number one of working on the ambulance rig. It didn’t matter if you were angry or terrified; you had to keep it together for your patients. My hands were trembling as I tightened the tourniquet around her left leg. Her dialysis port was squirting thick, dark arterial blood from her thigh. “I don’t want to die,” the woman said faintly, dropping her gaze to her leg. “Please don’t let me die.” “Hey,” I said. “Hey look at me.” I waited fo…