Steak Tips

Medic 9, you’d better take this one in, too. It sounds like they may need some help.”


Due to a quirk of geography we were actually closer, but the other crew had a head start. We both arrived on scene at the same time, from opposite directions.


“IF YOU’D BEEN HERE SOONER HE WOULDN’T BE DEAD NOW!” I see why the dispatcher thought we should assist. He’s been on the phone listening to the chaos. It’s no use explaining that we responded immediately, or that we were just around the corner. Ninety seconds can seem like an eternity when a loved one is not breathing.


All four of us grab our gear and weave through the furniture into the ground-floor apartment. My partner makes an offhand comment that it may be interesting getting the patient back out. Sprawled at the rear of the apartment we find the patient, a tatoo’d off-season Santa Claus in biker garb. I’m instantly sure there must be a Harley-Davidson parked around here somewhere, as the man wouldn’t look right riding or driving anything else.


A fireman kneels at his head, attempting to force air into his lungs using a bag-valve-mask without effect. Another checks a pulse and nods; we aren’t too late.


A crash occurs behind us as the patient’s adrenaline-high son tosses the kitchen table across the room. He continues throwing furniture across the room and out the front door until the police restrain him. I think he might have started in on the appliances next. Although unorthodox, we appreciate his efforts to assist us.


Yoda snaps an extra large blade onto the laryngoscope. He looks into the patient’s airway, muttering something about steak tips. He reaches in with forceps, fumbling briefly, then begins to remove the obstruction. It’s like watching a perverse sort of reverse childbirth, as we marvel that the patient could ever have gotten his lips around such a chunk of meat.


With his airway now clear, the patient should begin breathing on his own. After a few assisted breaths, he does. But he doesn’t wake up. Has his brain been deprived of oxygen too long?


We all head for the ambulances through the tornado-like path of destruction. We won’t know for a while, if ever, if we have been quick enough to make a difference.

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