I remember one week a few years ago we I had a run of calls to 3 month old babies. Three to be precise.
I was reminded this morning when I woke up to the cooing and babbling of my youngest. I reached into the cot to pick her up and caught a whiff of her nappy. It's the usual smell of a nights worth of wee, a strange sweet smell. It's been the same with all of my kids. And it was then that reminded me of this collection of calls.
My crewmate Al and I (both EMTs at the time) had just checked the truck, he ran upstairs to use the toilet when the alerters went off. I checked on the mobile data terminal (MDT) what it was. It came through as a Cardiac Arrest. 'Another one waking up dead!' I thought to myself. It's quite a common call first thing to get an elderly person who has passed away, sometimes we have several. The phone also rang and Al must have picked it up upstairs. He raced down and said that it was a baby resus. 'Shit!' 'What do you want to do? he said, 'You drive' I said. If you wanted to get somewhere fast and safely then he was your man. On the way I was thinking 'Do I take any kit in with me or just scoop the child up and run?' I chose to take the response bag just in case it was something else. We arrived outside a sheltered housing block which houses single mums and their kids. By the door there was a young guy smoking and a girl walking out with an apparently OK looking baby. 'Thank god for that!' 'It's not me she shouted, it's for my mate down here!' Now I don't usually run to anything, you could quite easily trip and be a casualty your self and be no good to anyone. But on this occaision I did. Now in the flat I could hear crying, the next thing I saw was a baby on the floor with a young girl trying to perform mouth to mouth. There was also a small child of about 4 looking at his mum. They had woken up and found the baby not breathing, they had been all sharing the same bed. I picked the baby up in my arms, that's when I had the smell of the wet nappy. I started mouth to mouth and CPR and just ran out to the truck. A Paramedic officer had also turned up and jumped into the back of the truck. BVM out, monitor on and we were away. The paramedic tried to intubate but couldn't get it. The child had been down too long. He was still warm, probably because he had been all wrapped up. The mum was in the back as well pleading with us to save her baby. In hospital once they had got a blood result back they decided to halt resuscitation. He had been down too long.
Before cleaning the vehicle up, we had tea in silence. Suddenly there was loud screaming, it was the mum. She was now blaming the 4 year old saying that he must of slept on his baby brother. It was an absolute nightmare, what would happen to the other child? The police arrived, they and the sobbing mum along with a Nurse went down to the relatives room.
That's the worst ever start to a shift that I can remember.
The rest of that shift was very hectic with lots of ill people, we didn't have time to sit and dwell . Sometimes it good to just crack on and try not to think about a bad call.
Later when I got home I walked into the kitchen, my wife was getting ready to go jogging with her sister. She asked if I was OK but she knew I wasn't. I briefly told her about the first job and she said she would cancel jogging. I said no and that I was fine. 'If you're sure.' she said and off she went. The front door slammed and I have never ran up those stairs so fast in all my life. I wanted to see my kids and kiss them, hug them and tell them how much I loved them.
Time to get washed and changed. In my bedroom I gazed out of the window and broke down in tears. I cried my eyes out uncontrollably for a good five minutes. Why did this happen, how can there be a god out there that let a baby die. My tears then turned to anger for a few seconds. And within a few minutes I was fine. I just had to have a release, I mean I didn't feel upset through out my shift. When I got home and saw my kids it hit me like a sledge hammer. I had to let my emotions out.
I have had many nasty jobs in the past mainly involving adults, some involving children and I can honestly say this has been the only one that had brought me to tears. Why? I don't know.