Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Diatribe, Part the Second


WARNING!!!!! - If you are squeamish about blood, severe injuries or death, or semi-foul language - READ NO FURTHER

Let's hop in the time machine (Not a Delorean) and wander back to 19 and 86. So one afternoon I am working at my shop (I owned my own welding / heavy truck mechanic business) when the tones drop. "Auto Pedestrian involving an 18 wheeler truck." I thought, "This won't be pretty." It was right down the road from my shop and my in district partner was a few miles away.

At that time, Austin - Travis County had recently gotten StarFlight (Helicopter) and the standard for ALS calls in the county was to send a BLS ground unit and launch the helo. Volunteers or the BLS unit could cancel the helo if not needed. I knew the cavalry was coming in strength and just after I called in responding I heard County Partner call in responding as well as the Aide unit and StarFlight.

As I approached the scene, I take in that it is a construction zone around a bridge being built into one of the new subdivisions. Frantically waving workers greet me. The situation as was pretty apparent after an initial survey and quick rundown from the foreman as I unloaded and slogged gear over to the patient. It was an 18-wheeler dump truck that was backing up when a worker walked behind it. The worker tripped and fell in the soft roadbed material and the driver did not see him go behind the trailer in the first place much less fall. Others saw what happened and got the drivers attention but not until our patient was under the trailer about midway. The truck had backed both sets of tandems on the fully loaded trailer over this guy's midsection. This really is not good. I gave dispatch and the others a quick update and went to work. The patient was conscious but going down hill fast. By the time the Aide unit was on scene he was ready to crash and we were able to get MAST pants on him to get his blood pressure back up enough to hold on until the Helo touched down.

We got an LZ setup and the Helo on the ground quickly and advised a Hot Load as this guy was critical. We had the guy packaged on a backboard waiting for the helo when it touched down so the Flight Medic and Flight Nurse started their work as we were loading. He was going down fast again and the Flight Crew got IV's going and they pushed fluids as fast as possible to try and keep him viable. We backed off and launched the Helo knowing that his chances were really not all that good.

As a side note, we could have made copies of the keys in his pocket and added up how much change he was carrying from the impressions in his leg if that gives you any idea what his body was exposed to.

Partner and I talk for a bit about what just happened and then head back to our respective jobs. We fill out run sheets with our reports on them about what just happened and get those turned in. I called and talked to the Flight Medic to get an update, the patient died on the operating table. Massive internal injuries. Too massive to even begin to fix.

Not a good way to end any call but we did our best and knew that we could not have done any more or better that would have had any effect on the outcome.


Not a week later, I get notice that I am being sued!! By a State Senator / scum sucking lawyer on behalf of the patients family in Mexico. Turns out the guy was here illegally and working for cash under the table. The lawyer scum was suing Me and County Partner, the BLS crew, the Flight Crew including the pilot, the ER Nurses and Doctors, the OR Nurses and Doctors all as individuals, as well as the City and County as Owner/Operator of the EMS system and Owner of the hospital. Also, the Driver of the truck, the owner of the truck and trucking company, the owner of the construction company, the foreman of the construction crew and the primary contractor for the road project as well as the subdivision developer.

The attack on the EMS and Hospital crews was that we did not do enough to save his life and that we had dropped the level of care, as he was a Mexican and pretty much everyone that worked on him was white.

Was anyone that was sued responsible for him walking behind a loaded dump truck that was backing up and him tripping? I won't even get into his status or presence on the job site, as that has nothing at all to do with the level of care he received or what he did to cause the injuries. I ended up having to take time out of my schedule, four times over the course of more than a year as this dragged on, to meet with city and county lawyers as well as to give a deposition. In addition to the stress of beng sued. I was being accused of not doing my best, by a well dressed two bit lawyer hack who had no medical training and was not anywhere near the scene as it happened, when I had not only done my best but done so at my own expense. EMT class and continuing education I had paid for and taken time to complete as well as purchasing some equipment to augment county issue. I took it personally as did a few of the others I spoke with about it.
NO, the lawyer was just a greedy son of a bitch that was looking to see how much who would pay him to just go away. Which the City/County did after it was all said and done. They decided it would be cheaper to just pay the bastard off than to fight for what was right including the integrity and honor of the PEOPLE who worked their asses off to try and save this guy.

This guy was responsible for his actions and everyone else was being blamed.

Unfortunately it has just gotten worse in this litigious society where not only does everyone sue everyone else, but, everyone blames someone else for what happened. It cannot be the fault of the person who actually did the action. It has to be the car or it's manufacturer, the bartender, the gun or it's manufacturer, seller or distributor, the trampoline manufacturer, the road crew or whoever.

People need to be responsible for their own actions and parents are responsible for their children until they are old enough to be held responsible for themselves. Parents NOT SCHOOLS OR THE GOVERNMENT are responsible for teaching their children that they are going to be held responsible for their actions and just what that means.


About this time, I realized I had been working jobs not a career path and was ready to go back to school to finish my degree. Time to earn my keep. Personal responsibility and all.

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