Yesterday I had the typical day at work. I did all of the maintenance that was needed in the station and all of the daily work that we do on our Engines to be sure they are ready in case a fire call comes in.
Then an alarm came in that makes you feel really good about the job that you do. A 2 vehicles motor vehicle accident on a stretch of road that is very well known for severe accidents. It always makes you cringe a little bit when you hear the area of this accident because you never know what you are going to come upon when you get there. When we arrived there was one vehicle on the roadway with severe damage to it, but no one inside. That was a good thing thing this time.
The driver of that vehicle was a 19 year old girl from the Philadelphia area which is about 5 to 6 hours away. She was sitting in another vehicle that was not involved in the accident. She was talking to her father on the phone when I walked up to the car. She was visibly shaking and crying. She was scared to death but not injured other than a few abrasions from the deployment of the airbag. I asked her to get off the phone so that I could do an assessment and be sure that she wasn’t injured badly. I kneeled beside the vehicle and within a matter of 1 or 2 minutes I was able to get her to stop crying. She was now worried about the items in her vehicle because she was heading back home when the accident occurred.
I told her that it would be wise for her to go be seen at the hospital because of the damage to the vehicle and the deployment of the air bag. Then I told her that what we were going to do next was going to be the part that was not fun. The protocol is to be sure that patient’s are immobilized to prevent further injury after an accident. Once we had her in the ambulance i told her to go ahead and call her father back to let him know what was going on. She was unable to call him because her phone had died.
I got my phone out of my pocket dialed the number for her and allowed her to talk to him to assure him that things would be ok. When she was done I spoke with him to tell him about the minor injuries and the damage to the vehicle
Even though I only spent about 15 minutes with this scared young lady, I believe that being there was enough for her to know that the people tat were caring for her really cared and wanted her to feel comfortable. That is why I do the job that I do.
It is one thing to go out there and do the physical part of the job, and another aspect of the job to show compassion for the people that we treat. I have always shown compassion for patient’s, but “My Fall to Life” has given me a new found respect for the feelings of people in a stressful situation