Just ducky

It’s a relatively normal morning. We get our first call before coffee. She’s a regular chest pain patient; an uncontrolled angina. Oxygen, IV, monitor; 12-lead ECG and nitroglycerin. The only hitch is with the aspirin. She doesn’t like the taste and refuses to swallow it. The early morning traffic is light, and we make easy […]


A sunny Sunday morning. A crowded neighborhood; the closest thing we have to tenements, filled to the brim with people seeking the American dream and finding everything but. Paramedic 9’s diesel screams at the curb, nose to nose with a fire engine in the tiny one way street. They will have to back out. We […]

Adventures in babysitting

“Medic 9, umm, check your CAD notes.” I flip the Toughbook screen open as my partner scowls from the driver’s seat. Response to the clinic. Non emergency, but bring up your equipment as the staff is having trouble. Uhhhh. . . After a quick consultation with the dispatcher we decide this sounds like an emergency. […]


He sits in his hospital chair, staring out past an uneaten breakfast at the city skyline beyond. Frank starts slightly as we enter the room, then turns and smiles. Our routine has begun for the day. He's a slight wisp of a man, now. Twice my age and half my size, time and disease have […]

Not clear on the subject

Overheard in the medic truck: Medic 505: “So I see you’re allergic to Penncillin. What happens when you take it?” Patient Experiencing Allergic Reaction: “I don’t take it, I’m allergic.” M505: “But how do you know you’re allergic?” PEAR: “My doctor said so.” M505: “And how does he know?” PEAR: “I had a reaction.” M505: […]


The door rolls up as I approach, and I hear the Powerstroke cough to life. I’m not on the clock for another ten minutes, but I’ll do the right thing and relieve the overnight crew. Regular Partner arrives as I take the reins, and we are off into the crisp fall morning. “Medic 9, be […]


  “Medic 9, respond for the unresponsive male. . .”   A BLS ambulance arrives before us and begins doing their thing. He has a pulse but isn't breathing. Oxygen and a BVM will take care of that for the moment. His environment suggests heroin overdose; his pinpoint pupils and track marks scream it. The […]


Two police cruisers idle in the cul-de-sac, lights off, projecting calm authority. Nothing to see here. Move along. An apologetic looking sergeant steps from his air conditioned refuge as we arrive. “She's off her medications again,” he tells us. “I've spoken to her doctor, and the paperwork is on its way.” But of course it […]

Rain delay

A mild summer afternoon has turned to a muggy evening. The June storms have arrived, bringing a paradoxical increase in the temperature. We stand in the open garage bay facing south as lightning illuminates the clouds above, each flash forming shadow images on the horizon. The minor league ball game across the street has called […]