Just keep squeezing. . .

The ambulance lurches as we leave the parking lot of Local Suburban Hospital. Partner du Jour looks at me with resignation in his eyes. “You know how this ends?” he asks.

“Yeah, I know.” I squeeze another bagful of oxygen into the patient’s lungs.

**SQUEEZE**

The patient fell last evening, tripping over a child’s toy. He’s apologetic for calling, but he’s done this before and knows his medications make him susceptible to internal bleeding. He doesn’t know that he has called at shift change and that my partner should be halfway home by now. We don’t tell him.

He’s very nice and wants to walk down the stairs to the ambulance.

**SQUEEZE**

Behind the wheel, Supervisor knows exactly what we need. She strives for the perfect balance between smoothness and speed. At this time of night, the quickest route to Big City Trauma Center is straight through the heart of the city, then up onto the highway. She does a good job, missing most of the potholes and making decent speed.

**SQUEEZE**

The patient identifies herself as pregnant, but doesn’t show it. She felt dizzy in the sun and almost lost consciousness. She leaned against the front wall of the supermarket and then slumped to the ground, scraping her face against the bricks.

She tells us that she doesn’t know who her doctor is, but her mother knows.

**SQUEEZE**

The patient’s blood pressure begins to drop. We infuse saline though his IV in hopes of raising it.

**SQUEEZE**

The patient sits on the floor of the gym, holding his knee and grimacing in pain. It was a simple foul shot gone horribly wrong. He’s been injured before, but never with this level of pain. He’s a tough guy, but today he’s near tears.

We splint his knee as gently as possible. En route to Local Suburban Hospital, we give him his first dose of morphine, but it doesn’t even begin to touch the pain.

**SQUEEZE**

The patient’s blood pressure continues to drop. We have to stop the anesthesia to keep him alive. After a few minutes he begins to show spontaneous movement, but he doesn’t wake up.

**SQUEEZE**

We pound on the door of the house, with 4 firemen and a police officer behind us. The woman who answers looks completely surprised. The call came from a third party, whose friend left a message on his voicemail asking him to call 911 for her, two hours ago. When called back the friend isn’t sure about our patient’s address. It might be in the next block.

The house in question has multiple apartments, and no one answers any of the doors. After circling twice, the firemen hear a faint call for help from the second floor. We try the most likely door and find it locked. One of the firemen goes for the tools while we study the locks. As he returns, the door opens.

Our patient, too weak to dial 911, has walked downstairs to meet us.

**SQUEEZE**

We wheel into the critical care area of Big City Trauma Center and are met by the trauma team. “Is this the patient coming from Out of State Hospital by helicopter?”

Umm, does this look like a flight suit? “Nope, we’re from Local Suburban Hospital by ground.”

**SQUEEZE**

The patient is unresponsive in bed, with evidence of copious vomiting. He doesn’t fit into any of our easy diagnoses. We do everything we can in the bedroom, rule out anything easily fixed, and roll for the hospital.

**SQUEEZE**

We exchange one trauma team for another, just as the helicopter crew from OSH arrives. We give report to our team, transfer the patient to their care, and after one final

**SQUEEZE**

we melt away into the night.

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