Monday, April 1, 2013

Difficulty Breathing, Fat Paramedics and A Riot

Steve and I are working 5pm-1am shift on 18 Young.
"18 Young", crackles the dispatcher
"!8 Young , central"
"Young pick up the diff breather, 155 st and St. Nick. Its on the way over to your computer"
" 10-4. 18 young, on the way"
Steve doesn't like to drive so I'm at the wheel. Light and sirens we fly up from 125st/8th ave and make it to the scene in about 5 mins. The text on the KDT advises that it is a 68 year old female having chest pain and difficulty breathing. Its a walk up so we bring out the chair along with the cardiac monitor, drug bag and oxygen bag and make our way to the third floor. We arrive at the apartment and find the door open. Looking inside I could see the woman sitting on the side of the bed looking to be in moderate respiratory distress. We announce our arrival and begin to open the door. A man, about 45 years old comes out of a room to our right
"Please help my mother, she's having an asthma attack" he begs us. He doesn't give any indication that he's agitated or anything.
We walk over to the patient and I take a listen to her lungs and turn to Steve, "She's wheezing but not that bad. I'll start her on a nebulizer and put a line in her"
"No problem," answers Steve "I'll go get some info from the son"
I start her on a nebulizer, take her vital signs and am about to put an IV in her when I hear something strange. I look to my right and there is Steve and the son each with his hands around the others throat, locked on to each other like enraged pitbulls. I drop the needle and instinctively pick up my radio:
"18 YOUNG TO CENTRAL, 85 FORTHWITH!" I yell over Manhattan Central radio and jump into the fray.
Now the woman, with whatever air she could draw into her lungs starts screaming. Meanwhile the three of us slam into a cabinet causing an assortment of dishes, cups, saucers to come crashing down upon us. At the same time four of the woman's family members, living close by and having been made known of the woman's illness, come through the door see us tussling with the son on the floor and without more ado proceed to jump into the fray and start kicking and punching the shit out of me and Steve. It wasn't easy laying there trying to stop the son from cutting off my partner's air supply at the same time trying to protect my head from the pummeling we were both receiving from the Four Horseman(well, 2 horsemen and 2 horsewomen) of the Apocalypse recently arrived. Seconds later I hear sirens and hear the screeching of tires. About five ambulances pull up, quickly adding ten to the seven already taking part in this melee. Behind them are two cops who see whats going on and immediately call a "1013" (officer needs help). Soon we add fifteen cops to the total. It's like a wild west barroom brawl.
It took about 10 minutes before both sides were separated and the family members were placed in handcuffs. I turn to go back to make sure the woman is alright but i see one of the medics from another unit was already taking a look at her.
I turn to Steve, "What the fuck happened?", barely able to get the words out.
"I went to talk to the son. On the way I opened the refrigerator to check if the woman had insulin in there", Steve answers breathing hard.
"Yeah?"
"The next thing I know the son grabs me and accuses me of trying to steal his food?"
"Are you kidding me"?, I ask incredulously.
"No! He grabbed me and said, You fat motherfucking EMS people don't get enough to eat now you gonna steal my food"?
"Un-fucking believable"
"Yeah, Rock, he must have thought I already got something in my mouth because that's when he grabbed my throat"
When he said this, everyone within earshot cracked up including one of the now detained family family members. If you had know Steve you would have known he did not mean this as a joke. Meek as hell (but also strong as hell) he was not one to make jokes. And that's what made it all the more funnier.
In the end, the sick woman was transported by another medic unit. Steve and I declined to press charges on the family members (we actually felt bad for them, they didn't know what was going on when they walked in). By the way, the son was also transported to the hospital. No he wasn't injured, he was schizophrenic and hadn't taken his meds in the past several days.
First job of the tour, 7 hours to go and we already got our asses kicked. Making our way back to the ambulance, we're putting our equipment away just as the dispatcher calls us on the radio:
"18 Young this is Manhattan, please answer the radio"
I pipe up "18 Young, central the original patient has been transported to 07(Harlem Hospital) by 19 Vick, 18 Boy has the son and is transporting him also to 07"
"10-4. Young, are you and your partner alright?"
We looked at each other, shrugged "Central", I keyed up "that's a 4, we're okay"
"Good 18 Young because I'm holding a man stabbed on Ward's Island, PD is confirming"
"10- 4 Central, show us 63" (en route to the call)
I look at Steve "It's gonna be one long fucking night"
He nods his head wearily
"And stay the fuck away from any refrigerators for the rest of the night".
We laughed hysterically the entire way to the call