| Kane and I are being held over by our dispatcher due to the truck load of cases that keep coming in. Dispatch can hold us over for a nonspecific time frame because it is in our contract that all EMT’s and Medics have to sign. Dispatch calls our ambulance number and the dispatcher’s deep, calm voice states that we have a single car MVA, motor vehicle accident, over on South Street at the traffic light.
Kane and I are now being informed that this car has hit a telephone pole at a high rate of speed and there are now power lines down. Police are already on scene and CPR is in progress on a two year old toddler. My heart almost stops and I gasp. Another injured child and I am not thrilled about this. This is Kane’s case and I do not envy him this situation. I am in the driver’s seat so I respond to South Street with lights and sirens and as fast as I possibly can.
This is Kane’s case to work the patient and I feel for him. Infants, children, the elderly, and animals bother both Kane and I to no end when they are hurt or injured. This case is a two year old toddler and I know Kane is trying to mentally prepare himself for this scene. We pull up to the traffic light at South Street and there is an officer is performing CPR on the toddler that is also coated in blood. Kane leaps from the ambulance with his medical kit in hand. Kane is instantly beside the officer and he is taking the toddler from the familiar officer.
I walk over to the chief of police, Mark Warren, who is standing beside a maroon sedan. The front of the car has crumbled against the telephone pole, the engine is smoking, and I am in awe that nobody was killed instantly. I look in the car and see that the child’s car seat is on the floor of the front passenger seat. The car seat was not fastened in to the seat and it should have been in the back seat of the sedan. What the fuck is wrong with the toddler’s mother? The toddler’s mother is still sitting behind the wheel looking dazed and very confused. I am informed that the mother’s name is Catlin, she has a large laceration above her left eye and she has a bloody nose, and I can smell alcohol on her breath when I lean into the car to take a look at her laceration. Mark looks over at me and he states that he performed a breathalyzer test on her and she is well over the state limit.
Why was this woman even driving? Above all why did she not make sure that her child was fasten in right? It is only seven-thirty in the morning. Why was she drunk at this hour of the morning? Why did she have her baby with her? This woman, the mother, had already been drinking this morning. No wonder the car seat had not been strapped into the sedan like it should have been but the crazy part is she was wearing her seat belt which saved her life.
Catlin was much too drunk to even notice that she did not belt in the car seat like she should have done. I glance over at Kane who is still doing CPR on the toddler and I can see that he is intent on having this child survive. I turn back to Catlin and tend to the laceration above her left eye. Once I clean out this laceration I notice that it is not all that bad, she does not even need sutures, and I have learned over the years that head wounds always bleed the most and they bleed the worst. Mark starts to ask Catlin, the mother, some routine questions.
Kane calls to me. Kane says we need to get the toddler to the hospital stat or right now. I nod my head. I let Mark know that we are taking the child to the hospital. Mark, the police chief, will have one of his officers take Catlin to the police station. Catlin will not be going to the hospital with her baby for she is in major trouble and the gash over her eye is nothing more than a scratch. Catlin is cited with drunk driving, child endangerment, and she has several warrants out on her. Catlin is not going to be going home with her baby any time soon.
I help Kane into the ambulance as he is holding the toddler. Kane continues CPR as I start an IV line and perform other medical needs that this toddler needs right this minute. One of the police officers is behind the wheel of the ambulance for the toddler needs both Kane and I to help him. Kane yells to the officer that he must move and we are responding to the hospital with lights and sirens and at a high rate of speed.
The toddler is not responding to the CPR but Kane keeps working the child. We all know children at this age children are very resilient but this one just feels different. Yet at any minute the toddler could have a heartbeat and a pulse. We are praying that this child pulls through. We arrive at the hospital several minutes later and Kane carries the toddler into the hospital and he is still doing CPR on him. A nurse helps Kane put the toddler on a stretcher and the nurse takes over the CPR.
We have more doctors and nurses around us and the scene is extremely hectic. Now one of the doctors, Ralph Simmons, kicks into gear and he takes over the CPR from the nurse. We are in a trauma room now with the toddler and all this has happened within moments of us arriving at the hospital. Ralph Simmons, the doctor, continues working the toddler for forty-five more minutes. Unfortunately the toddler is not responding to anything and Ralph says that the toddler has internal injuries that have complicated matters and there is nothing that we could have done.
Ralph assures Kane and I that there was no way of knowing that the baby had internal injuries and we did a great job attempting to save the baby. Ralph calls time of death at noon and tears leap from my eyes. This is a senseless death. It was not the toddler’s fault that he died. The mother was responsible for this mess and she did not even care. When Kane and I were leaving the scene Catlin, the mother, did not even ask about the baby. The toddler is adjusted on the stretcher and he is covered with a white sheet.
I sense Kane’s sadness and his aggressive anger. He is thinking what he could have done differently. Why the hell did Catlin, the toddler’s mother, get behind the wheel of her car drunk out of her mind? Why did she not buckle the car seat in? Catlin did fasten her seat belt. Is she really that selfish? Being a mother you are always responsible for your child until they turn eighteen, this is my way of thinking, but obviously she was not a responsible mother.
Why was the car seat in the front of the car? Why was the car seat not in the back seat like it should have been? Why did she not ask about her baby? What the hell was so important that she had to speed to get there? What was more important than her own child’s safety? Was it for more alcohol? Was it for drugs? Or was it just for a freaking joy ride? Kane and I want to know the answers to all of these questions. The only one that might know the answers to these questions is Mark Warren, the chief of police, and we must contact Mark as soon as we can.
I have Kane go to the ambulance and wait there for me. I use my cellular phone to call the EMS dispatch center. Our dispatcher picks up the phone on the third ring and I ask if there are still pending cases. There are more than two dozen cases waiting but the dispatcher says that Kane and I have done enough for today and we are clear to return to the station and go home. I am relieved, I thank the dispatcher, and I end the phone call. I exit the hospital and I return to the ambulance to find Kane behind the wheel. I offer to drive back to the station but Kane states that he really wants and needs to drive. I know better than to argue with him when he is in one of these moods. Kane can be very stubborn at times and this is one of those moments so I climb into the passenger seat.
I say, “Dispatch says to return to the station and we can go home.”
Kane wonders if the dispatcher is sure about this, “Are they really sure? Don’t they have more calls that need to be done?”
I reply, “I asked and they said that we are clear to punch out. Dispatch also said that we have done enough for today.”
Kane looks relieved, “Okay, that is really good. I got a question for you.”
I gently ask, “What?”
Kane asks, “Can we stop at the police station on our way home from the station?”
I am shocked that he wants to do this for he has been through a very difficult case, “Of course we can but it is completely up to you.”
Kane senses my uneasiness, “You really don’t mind?”
I ask gently, “Are you sure that you want to do this Kane? I mean this just happened and you are more than a little shell shocked.”
Kane says, “I’m positive.”
I really do not believe Kane for he usually will say he is fine when he really is not, “Then I don’t mind at all. I can understand what you need.”
Kane says, “I just need some real answers and I need them now.”
I agree with Kane, “I need those same questions answered too but are you ready to hear those answers?”
Kane is furious as he responds, “Of course I am ready. I would not have asked if I am not ready to hear what Mark has to say. There is no reason that child should have died. That mother should never have been driving.”
I am angry that Kane is yelling at me for agreeing with him, “I do agree with you. This is just as bad as my case with Logan. I know it is always worse when the child is under five years old.”
Kane is acting a little calmer at the current moment, “I know. It just really frustrates me that this has happened. Catlin, the fucking drunk mother, had been so stupid and I am furious as well. I cannot fathom doing something like that.”
I reply, “That poor baby is dead because of his brainless mother decided to drive under the influence. This also doesn’t make me feel good, not at all, but there is nothing that we could have done for that baby. You did everything you could to save him.”
Kane snaps and he says, “That mother should be fucking shot in the fucking head.”
I say, “I hope she goes to prison for life.”
Kane snaps, “Prison is too good for her. She should get the death penalty. You know an eye for an eye?”
I sigh and to save a fight I agree with Kane, “I know the saying Kane and I agree with you.”
We arrive at the police station and Mark has us sit in an interview room. Mark sits across from Kane and I. Mark knows that we have a lot of questions and he senses that we are desperate for answers to those very questions. Mark folds his hands on the heavy silver table that is bolted to the floor just like the chairs are.
Mark looks at Kane and I in the eyes. I glance at Kane for a moment and I want him to start the conversation. I feel that it would be therapeutic for Kane to speak since he was the one working on the toddler. I know Kane feels like complete shit for he feels like this when there is a senseless death. I also know that Kane is blaming himself for the baby dying. I felt this way when Logan died too so I do know what he is going through and I am going to have to be patient with Kane. I wish we had magical powers to bring back some of the innocent people that have died or given up hope over the years. Kane and I really do not like pronouncing people dead. It seems so unnatural.
Mark asks, “What can I help you guys with today?”
Kane is direct with his question, “Has Catlin asked you folks about her baby?”
Mark answers, “No, Catlin is still too wasted to even question her, and we did try to get a statement from her but that proved to be a failure as well.”
Kane shakes his head but he asks Mark, “What has she said? Even in her drunken state she should have said something.”
Mark replies, “Catlin has not said anything. She just vomited everywhere and she keeps asking for aspirin for her headache.”
I look at Mark and Kane as I ask, “Did the lab come in to draw any blood for testing?”
“Yes, the lab did stop by about an hour ago and it still is too early for any reports to have come back.”
Kane replies, “Can you please call me when Catlin sobers up enough to talk? I would like to sit in on that interview if that is alright by you Mark.”
Mark says, “Yes, that is fine Kane and of course I will call you.”
I say, “Thank you Mark, that is very kind of you to let Kane sit in on things, and I think it will help him.”
Kane does not ask, but he does politely demand, “I would also like to see those lab reports when they come in.”
Mark asks, “What is your cell number Kane? I will text you those reports as soon as they come in.”
Kane rattles off his cell phone number and Mark quickly writes it down with a promise to call Kane as soon as he possibly can. Kane and I leave the police station with some disappointment. Kane feels like he has no closure at the moment but he will find that closure soon enough, I know he will, Kane has to find closure on this case. I remind Kane that he will receive that closure soon enough and he needs to be patient. Unfortunately I had no real closure with Logan and I never will get that chance. Kane places an arm around my shoulders and says that he loves me very much. Kane drives us home as I sit in the passenger side of the car and I try to relax a little which is nearly impossible.
Once we are home Kane showers right away. Kane emerges from the bathroom in his pajamas feeling fresh, very clean, and a little more relaxed or so he says. It is now my turn to take a shower and to change into my pajamas. Both Kane and I had worked up a sweat today and we both felt so filthy. Now we feel so much better as we sit in our living room in our pajamas. Neither one of us wants to cook dinner so we decide to order out. We are not overly hungry but we know we should be eating something. Kane and I are craving different types of food. Kane wants a steak sub and I want Chinese food. One of us has to give in and compromise. I decide to be the one to give in for I know Kane has had a difficult day. I can always have Chinese food at some other time.
Kane and I order a large steak and cheese sub with lettuce and tomatoes, a small tuna sub with pickles and olives for me, a large order of fries, a large order of onion rings, and two sodas. Kane and I have not eaten all day because we were extremely busy but seriously we did order too much food. I think our eyes are bigger than our stomachs most of the time but Kane really wanted to order more food than we actually did and I was able to talk him out of that. Kane can eat massive amounts of food and not gain any weight. Me on the other hand will gain twenty pounds just watching Kane eat.
As we wait for our food to arrive, Kane opens a can of German beer, and he drinks half the beer within a few seconds. I never drink, I do not like the taste, and Kane drinks very rarely which is really good for it would bother me if he drank too much. Kane only drinks when things are much to chaotic for him to handle and today is one of those times. Kane walks out of the kitchen with his beer in hand and I can hear the television turn on. I want to go to Kane and I want to make things better for him. I know what it is like for I lost Logan and I am still not right from that case.
I know it will take some time for Kane to let this case go for it was so traumatic plus you never forget these types of cases. The case will forever haunt you, you will always remember the case, but at least you can find some peace of mind with some time. A case like this will give you nightmares for the rest of your life for it is not natural for a child to die so young.
I ask, “Kane?”
Kane responds, “What’s up?”
I am just trying to make an innocent suggestion, “I think you should have a session or two with Taylor. He has really helped me through the Logan case and I think he can help you too.”
Kane says with a firm tone, “Jace, I will be fine. It will take me a couple of days or weeks but I will adjust. Don’t worry about me. I promise I will be okay.”
I honestly reply, “I can’t help but worry about you. I care about you so deeply and I want to make sure you are well taken care of. You know you don’t always have to be the strong, silent type.”
Kane rolls his eyes, “I’ll be okay in a few days, I promise.”
I say, “If you don’t bounce back by then will you at least consider seeing Taylor?”
Kane pretends to give in, “Okay, fine. If I am still struggling with the baby dying then I will see Taylor.”
I nod my head, “Good. I’m going down to wait for the food and I will take Zeus with me so you just relax.”
Kane yawns as he replies, “Okay.”