Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hit The Damn Thing!

On my way home last night I was about 45 seconds behind a person pulverizing a deer with their car. Up until this year I've really thought deer hunting was is it a sport when you have a gun and they have nothing? Bow-hunting, now there's a sport! It at least takes skill!

Well this year it was explained to me in great detail that the deer in Minnesota are extremely over-populated and if we didn't have a deer hunting season we'd have some serious issues. Deer would starve and would wonder further into populated areas to find food. Yes we've moved into their territory and forced them into less and less space, but overall the population is the problem.

Well, the deer hunting season ended last weekend and I'm all for starting it back up!

I've never been one to totally fear hitting a dear with my car. If it happens, it happens. But now its happening like crazy! I've seen footage of deer jumping through the windshields, picture windows, and last week one even walked into a Target store to do a little pre-holiday shopping!

So back to last night...after driving over chunks of deer ick ick ick I got home and had grab my pager to start my two hour ambulance shift. In August I joined the volunteer ambulance service in the small town that we live in. From August until October I simply rode as a 4th EMT to simply observe. Riding as a 4th is supposed to allow the new people to get acclimated to the way they do things. In that time I seriously made 2 calls!! One was a real patient call and the other was Stand-by, where you sit near the town that's ambulance is out of service until they are back in service. BORING. Every time I was signed on for a shift nothing would happen (it's a small town...that's the way it is). Well as of November I decided to go live and just learn as I go....and last night was the big night!

What I learned from last night...if a deer is in front of you, HIT THE DAMN THING! Do not try to avoid hitting it because you're more likely to do more damage in that process. The patient I had last night was driving home around 5pm when he swerved to miss a deer. He managed to miss it, but sent his full-size pick-up airborne! He luckily didn't hit anything, but said when he slammed down to the ground it was extremely hard. TWO HOURS LATER, after he had already walked from his truck into his house and had a couple of beers...he was in so much pain he couldn't get back out to the car for his wife to drive him to the hospital. When we arrived on the scene he was painfully laying on the couch and the a sheriff deputy was administering oxygen.

NOTE: most all cops do not like dealing with medicals, they are peace keepers! Putting on the O2 was a big step!

He explained that his pain was from his testicles (I'm still immature, I still have an inside giggle to that word) into his stomach up to his chest. He never said it was his back until we had him off the couch and on our cot.

Once we got to the hospital and explained the nights events to the Doctor he told the patient that he was 99% sure he knew what was wrong. He explained that in incidents such as his people tend to break bones in their lower back. They rolled the patient into X-ray and there it was TWO fractured lower vertebrae.

"SHIT! We should have back-boarded him!!!"

Since his stomach was bothering him, we all assumed stomach trauma...not back! DUH, being that we discussed it all happening in a automobile...we should have instantly immobilized his spine and back-boarded him. One of the other EMT's said sorry to the Doc and he said, "Don't be!" So from there we felt better. Before we left the hospital we heard the Doc call in the helicopter for transport to a Level 1 Trauma Center as this guy needed to see a neuro-surgeon promptly. Holy Crap!

After we got back to our ambulance station we could hear the helicopter coming in and a satisfying feeling rushed over me. THIS is why I became an EMT...I may not be able to fix what's broken, but I can help you get the help you need while making you as comfortable as possible.

I pray that last night's patient is able to get back on his feet soon and drive his truck home from work again....and if he learned anything, it was to speed up and turn the deer into road kill.

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