The day my life was threatened—Follow Up

Just wanted to make a few more comments about my post, “The Day My Life was Threatened.”

So many of you have left great comments, and for that I thank you.

As the comments began trickling in, I started thinking about being a medic and working pre-hospital. I always joke with my CRNA friends that they can brag to me after they have intubated a patient who is hanging upside down, trapped in a car…… night. In reality, that statement goes far in illustrating the conditions in which medics work. Part of the reason I like pre-hospital is the unknown, and the mud, and sweat, and the adapting that you don’t have to do in a controlled (no matter how chaotic) in-hospital situation. The violence we dread inside the hospital, however, is compounded when working the street.

Working the street as a medic is, by far, one of the most underpaid, dangerous jobs out there. Cops? Carry weapons. Firefighters? Bring the posse with them. Medics have a partner and usually roll with the aforementioned but sometimes still go in alone.


“Stage away” flitted over my pager just as we rolled up on the gas station which someone called us to for a “person down.”

Coming from dispatch, this means that no one cares about the patient until the police go in and make sure there are no bad guys who are gonna shoot at us.

Normally the fire guys beat us there. The parking lot had a few cars, no pretty red engines. The cops usually beat us there as well but no joy.

This wasn’t my normal car and I was working with a ROOKIE female EMT who was working the shift as overtime too.

Hmmmm, two white girls, working the Compton car, at night, in the rain, being told to “stage away.”

My partner got real quiet.

Nice. Real nice.

Fortunately, it is a very stereotypical crack junkie who had binged out and was unconscious. No bad guys were out to get us that night.

Unfortunately, this particular car I was working had been shot at in a drive by a few weeks prior to my shift, and sometime in the few months prior, a female EMT was jumped. The only thing that saved her was her big male partner taking the guy out. This was appropriately the station with 15′ concrete walls like a castle complete with steal gate for security that had to be unlocked, and re-locked to get the ambulance out for a call.

I must admit, that I miss working in Los Angeles County. I really do miss dealing with the unknown that came from working places like Compton and the South Bay, even if it was for a very short time.

So, to all of my pre-hospital peeps—-my hat is off to you. You deserve every bit of recognition I can give you for what you do.

Thank you.

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