Back in 2012, I posted about something from my past that applies to the whole “red flag” debate. I’m going to repost it here.
Three minutes after the initial call to 911, we arrived at
the front of a small, well-kept house, a typical one for the area. There
are toys scattered about the yard, undoubtedly left there by a small
The first through the door, I arrive in a rush and take in
the scene. Even now, nineteen years later, that image is burned into my
memory as clearly as if it were yesterday. There is a small child lying
on the couch in the living room, a small pitiful figure, his skin is a
mottled gray. He is covered in water and appears lifeless.
An adult male is standing next to the couch. He is soaked from the waist down, his clothing disheveled; his eyes red-rimmed, he looks like a wild man. I will not find out that this man was the child’s uncle for
another fifteen minutes.
I pick up the child, and he is cold. He does not stir, even when I harshly pinch his arm. I move to the door to the safety and privacy of the truck.
On the way out to my ambulance, I quickly look him over. He is about three years old, 12 kilos or so. Lying lifeless in my arms, he doesn’t appear to be doing very well. He isn’t breathing and has no pulse. My mind already computing drug dosages and accessing protocols, I reach for my radio and called in a “code” to the dispatch center.
I place my lips over the child’s mouth, and give gentle breaths. Chest compressions. Breaths.
We arrive at the truck, and I select the proper sized ET tube, and slide
it down his throat. My partner begins squeezing the bag, and I start an
I place him on the monitor, and I note that he is in asystole. Not good.
I spent the next 40 minutes fighting the battle that I knew we had lost before we even arrived.
As the helicopter flew away, taking with it the small, pitiful body once
so full of life, so precious to all who knew him, his Uncle approached
and asked me what he should tell his brother. He wanted to know how to tell a man that his baby boy drowned in a backyard pool while his Uncle took a shower. He then put his head on my shoulder, wrapped his arms around me and cried for the next ten minutes.
I went back to the station, numb. I didn’t know what to feel. All I knew was that I was empty, spent. In the weeks that followed, I had a harder and harder time going to work and functioning. I finally told my supervisor, who referred me to CISM. I was in therapy for that call for a while. It was hard to deal with. I even took anti-depressant medication for about 6 months. It was tough living with the ghosts of that call. I still get teary eyed sometimes when I think about that day, about what I could have done differently. Normal reactions, I think, to such a tragedy.
There are those who would deny me the right to own a firearm because I feel pain at the loss of a child. They wish to see people lose their rights without a hearing or a trial, simply because they sought help when they needed it. Millions of Americans seek therapy, take anti-depressants, and own firearms. None of them killed anyone yesterday.
No, they claim that being depressed at the thought of holding a dead child, at failing in the attempt to save his life, at having to console his mourning caregiver is an abnormal reaction that makes you a potential homicidal killer who needs to be stripped of his rights.
Those same people argue that it is completely sane for a parent to hire a doctor to surgically remove a child’s penis, because that child says he wants to be a girl today, even though that same child believed that he was a robot yesterday and a T-rex last week.
They argue that you can hire a lawyer, go to a hearing, and fight to try to get your rights back. The easier answer?
Suffer in silence.
Isn’t that what they claim is wrong with forcing trannies and fags to stay in the closet?
joe · June 22, 2022 at 6:29 pm
been in your shoes DM…it sucks…things i will take to my grave that creep in to your everyday thoughts now and again…like most people in our professions, we don’t always seek help, we just learn to cope with it and sometimes it makes us very cynical?…or seem uncaring…we develop a very dark humor…it’s the brain coping with shit to keep us from going crazy…you are right though, now those that have a harder time then most will have to suffer in silence or risk losing something that they shouldn’t be able to take away…
Vlad the non-Impaler · June 22, 2022 at 7:08 pm
Was a medic for 30 years. (The last 10 years I was more burned out than toast on the Max setting.)
I’ve seen that exact same scenario God only knows how many times. Some calls fucked with your head for a while.
Since retirement a decade ago, I was surprised I didn’t have call dreams anymore. Only had them when I was still working.
Getting help to deal with the profound helplessness and second guessing of yourself that can come after crap like this shouldn’t even get a sideways glance from some over-ambitious politician…but it will.
Divemedic · June 22, 2022 at 8:16 pm
Every medic has the ghosts of past calls living in his head. Times when you wonder what you could have done differently that would have created a different outcome. Maybe if I had given vasopressin instead of EPI, if I had gone with Lidocaine instead of amiodarone. In your heart, you know that you didn’t do anything wrong, and nothing you did would have made a difference.
But that doesn’t stop the nightmares. That’s why so many medics burn out, and why the average medic makes it less than 5 years before moving on.
21stCenturyCassandra · June 22, 2022 at 10:28 pm
IIRC, even Johnny and Roy on Emergency! back in the 70s only lasted 5 seasons
Divemedic · June 23, 2022 at 9:51 am
LOL. And they had it pretty good. They didn’t see a fraction of the tragedy that medics actually see.
jc · June 22, 2022 at 8:41 pm
Them’s some hard lines. Oddly enough, DSM5 makes no distinction between ‘situational depression’ (Bad shit happens. To all of us, if we live long enough.) and ‘clinical depression’ (which is either a lifestyle choice or a chemical thingie). A Dx of ‘depression’ is a lousy excuse for disarming the populace. By that logic all orphans (of whatever age), widows, widowers, &c are to lose God-given rights of self defense.
Divemedic · June 22, 2022 at 10:06 pm
I don’t think that red flag laws mention a difference in situational versus clinical depression.
“Your honor. We have evidence that this man is currently under the care of a psychiatrist for depression and owns an arsenal of over 5 weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He even owns 2 military style assault rifles. He keeps mentioning dead babies. We ask that you grant this temporary red flag order to save the children.”
JC · June 25, 2022 at 9:53 pm
Well, that was my point. Shit happens.
Comments are closed.