Thursday 31 October 2013

Iron Man

"RTC, Car vs Ped, 8 year old male, injuries unknown"

Do you remember the energy you had a child?! You could effortless run and run and run! Especially in the sun! It was amazing! I remember playing on the pavement in my road all summer long! Kicking a ball against a wall, playing hide and seek, having water balloon fights with other kids across the road, it was amazing! It is probably the most memorable part of my childhood, and the kids I played with then are still my best friends today, 20 years on. I remember kicking a ball across the road causing a driver to slam his brakes on.  I ran into my house, through to my garden and hid! A minute later my dad appeared, red faced and telling me how stupid and dangerous I had been. It was a quiet road but cars still came down, in hindsight and with what I now know it was incredibly stupid but hey, I was 9! 

Today was a particularly hot summers day. A glorious Saturday, not a cloud in sight. Everyone was in their summer clothing, parks were bustling, kids were everywhere having fun, there was a smell of BBQ in the air and I was.....well I was wearing thick green trousers, heavy boots, a heavy green shirt and was sat in a car with no air conditioning! Living the dream! It had been a quiet day, I was looking forward to my own BBQ in the evening with friends so was heavily clock watching!

My peace and quiet was interrupted by noise of my MDT giving me a job! And it was outside in the scorching heat! Typical! The age of the patient worried me and continued to worry me as I raced round to the address. As I pulled into the road I saw the huge crowd of people and the blue lights of a police car. That would certainly make things easier! I grabbed my stuff and rushed over.

Lying in the middle of the road was a little boy. He looked absolutely terrified. There were tears rolling down his face and all the adults seemed more concerned with vilifying the driver of the car than tending to their son. Holding the boy's head still and talking to him was one of the coppers and he was doing a great job. I set about fitting a collar and assessing his injuries. It quickly became apparent the despite his crying and talking he was in a very bad way indeed. A life threatening kind of bad way. I had no ambulance and no idea how long one would be, so called for HEMS straight away. Luckily I was near a wide stretch of road so there would be plenty of room for the Helicopter to land. 

The little boy kept asking me questions and crying out in pain. I gave him Entonox to try and distract him from the impending needle that was about to enter his arm. He promised to be brave like Iron Man would be. We talked about Iron Man the whole time I was with him, only occasionally did we digress to other, lesser superheroes. I tried to keep him alert and talking but it was becoming harder and harder. I could see the bruising on his flanks getting worse and knew it was likely a ruptured spleen. His leg was also broken. I told him I had to move his leg and it would hurt. He nodded and starred intently into my eyes. While taking about who would win in a fight between Iron Man and Batman I straightened his leg.  He yelped.

By now the chopper was overhead. The police blocked the roads and it landed about 30ft from us. The Dr's and Paramedics came over to me. I handed over and they did their thing. They gave the boy a soft toy helicopter which lit his face up. The decision was quickly made to sedate him and get going. Only now did his parents start to realise the gravity of the situation. Because he was going in the chopper they couldn't go with him. As a parent I can imagine the pain that not being with him would cause. It was a highly emotional situation. To see your little baby, be loaded into a helicopter, unconscious, with tubes sticking out of him must be absolute torture. 

I watched as they took off and disappeared into the blue sky. The parents left in a police car and as usual I was left to clear up. For a child to survive an impact like that and to survive the injuries he had received would take a miracle as far as I was concerned. What a tragic way for such a beautiful day to end up. I could imagine the joy he was feeling, the fun he was having as he ran out between the cars on his quiet road. I spared a thought for the driver of the car. I couldn't live with killing a child, albeit accidentally. Just a tragic, tragic day. 

*Two weeks later*

I was in the thick of more trauma and again I had HEMS come to me! Same crew as before and I asked them about the boy. He was alive and well and is expected to make a full recovery. There are miracles.

Iron Man lives on.


  1. As a member of an private ambulance service supporting the NHS, I go to jobs where i would like to find out the outcome. It can be hard to find out and when I do, not always the news you want to hear. But at least you know you have done every thing possible within your skill set. I do love my job knowing ive helped people to the best I could.

  2. We all did it, I ran out in front of a driver when I was 13 and got hit by a car.. my own fault not the drivers. Kids just don't see the danger. That's not to say it's always the kids fault some drivers also drive without seeing hazards or drive too fast to react - just how it is

  3. Well done Ella, as I said to one of our AP's last night you guys are the real life super heroes!

  4. Awesome!!!

    I've got a 9 and 6 year-old and was really hoping for a good outcome!

  5. I'm genuinely surprised there is no automatic feedback about outcomes, or at least a means of you finding out, for patients you've treated. I think long-term, burnout would be less likely if you could see the results - and indeed care standards would be appreciated and maybe improved too,,, (NOT YOURS, BUT GENERALLY!) Can't this be achieved?

  6. Thank you for adding that update bit at the end. Made my day

  7. Some posts about patients are so sad you feel you want to cry. Others, like this one, are such a relief that you can't help yourself. Go Iron Man! :-)

  8. I also was one of the children that did this. I was 11 and it was pouring with rain. I didn't see the car coming and rode out in front of it. My bike got the worst of the damage.
    So glad that the boy made it, but also feel extremely sorry for the driver.


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