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Friday, July 2, 2010

An Evening Ride

Imagine yourself out on an evening bicycle ride. You are cycling down a well traveled two lane road. The canyon in which you are riding unwinds before you like a snake. The air is warm. You're feeling good. Your daily jaunt is going smooth and traffic is fairly light.


Something happened. You are confused. Why is there a girl standing over you holding your head? What happened? She tells you that you were in an accident.


Something happened. You are confused. Why is there a firefighter standing over you? He asks your name. You tell him. He asks you how old you are. You don't know but you remember that you were born in 1960. The firefighter then asks if you hurt anywhere. Now that he mentions it you are in pain. Your head aches. Your neck is tender. Your right arm really hurts.

What happened?

The firefighter asks you to tell him if anything he touches hurts. He then, systematically, goes from your head to your toes checking your entire body. You ask him what happened. He tells you that you were hit by a car. They strap you to a hard board and load you into the back of an ambulance. You can hear the muffled sounds of the siren as the ambulance heads for the trauma center.


Engine 51, Truck 110, respond for a vehicle accident, auto vs pedestrian at about mile marker 4.8.

Dinner would have to wait. Siren wailing, we started down the canyon. A 26,000 pound engine does not corner very well. It wasn't exactly slow going but we weren't breaking any records. As we drove on dispatch informed us that CHP had yet to find anything. We were just about to inform dispatch that we were UTL when we rounded a corner and found a group of people waving at us.

It was hard to tell at first if the cyclist was wearing a red jersey or if he was covered in blood. It proved to be the latter. As I approached my patient I saw that he was breathing and alert. There was also a young woman holding his head in such a way as to suggest she had some EMS training. I asked her if she was comfortable continuing what she was doing and she said yes. That was good enough for me and I asked her to continue what she was doing.

I quickly performed a head to toe assessment. The victim had some pretty bad road rash all over his body. His right ear was partly avulsed and bleeding pretty good. His neck was tender to the touch but there was no deformity or crepitus. His right forearm was also broken. The cyclist had no recollection of the accident. He also repeated questions, indicative of head trauma. Lucky for him he was wearing a helmet.

We quickly packaged him up onto a backboard and loaded him into the ambulance.While cleaning up our gear I asked the young woman what type of training she had. She said that she had just finished an introductory course to nursing and EMS. I asked her which she wanted to pursue now that she had had a little taste of EMS. The answer was obvious. Her father, who was also there, was beaming with pride that his little girl was able to help.

According to CHP the driver of the car that hit him (who had refused to talk to us) wreaked of alcohol. As we left the scene she was failing a field sobriety test.

When I think of this call the mental image that comes to mind is not of the cyclist with his battered body. It's not the damaged car or bike. It's the sight of the soil mixed with blood marking the spot where my patient waited for me.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

This scene always scares me as my dad comuter-cycles to work and back ever day (30km each way). Glad that someone stopped to help though, nurses are good for something ;)!


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