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What I Remember

Last updated on August 30th, 2015 at 06:27 pm

St. Petersburg, FL., the year was probably 1978 or 79. My partner and I had responded to a drowning in a large apartment complex at the north end of town. When we arrived we found a bunch of people doing or trying to do CPR. While we were getting into position to take over care a news crew arrived and began to film the action- the cameraman positioned right behind me.

The child was blue and just had that look and feel. The outcome was not going to change and it was not right that it was being filmed- solely for the benefit of the TV station. Somehow when I stood up I bumped into the cameraman and into the pool he went.

Fencing could have, would have prevented the death of this child. Parental oversight could have, would have prevented the death of this child. These were not the only mistakes to be made. We put the child on the stretcher and began the very long trip to the hospital.

We did not secure the child in any special way to the stretcher. We never had any means to do so and nothing bad ever happened. Each time we transported a child back then, we did so either using the stretcher or more commonly held the baby in our arms- as though we could hold onto a 30 pound baby in a high speed collision. But we did it time and again and nothing bad ever happened.

That’s not to say that there could not have been a catastrophic outcome from the transport- it just never happened- to me. Back then we were not taught any better and frankly did not know better. Back then the world was a lot larger. We did not know what happened across the country or the world like we do today- only ‘major news’ received that level of exposure. And the fact that we did not believe anything bad would happen kept us from seeking change or improvement. As a society we have enacted universal laws that govern how we transport children in ordinary vehicles. We made these changes because bad things do happen. Emergency vehicles are the same as other cars- only riskier- they run red lights and go fast. We need to adopt the same laws as those that apply to all vehicles

How children are transported today is about the same as it was back then and largely for the same reason- we take a risk and nothing bad happens. There are those who advocate for safer transport of children and infants and some states have enacted legislation to require safe transport equipment for emergency vehicles. Most people just assume that EMS, 911 responders, know what to do and do the right thing.

So what is the moral to this story? We often get angry when bad things happen and lash out in the wrong direction. Hindsight is most often crystal clear but too often we fail to use this vision to change the future. Learn CPR. Insist that all states require EMS vehicles to carry and use approved child and infant transport equipment. Ask questions and get involved.  No Excuses

The law of averages

Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 08:14 am

On Tuesday April 7, 2009, a Hermosa Beach ambulance carrying a 3-year-old child to the hospital collided with a pickup truck in a Torrance intersection. The crash happened at 190th Street and Entradero Avenue and occurred about 5:45 p.m. The paramedics immediately called for help and another Hermosa Beach ambulance quickly took the child, who had suffered seizures, to the hospital. Fortunately, the child did not appear to suffer any “physical injuries” from the crash.
On Monday April 13th, 2009 a car struck an ambulance transporting a child to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. Another ambulance rushed to complete the transport. Luckily in this case, there were no injuries.
People have often asked me why I have stayed with this “cause” for so long. Fourteen years ago there was very little data available for me to document what was really happening. Today, there is so much more information available…and yet so many who have the power to help change things know nothing about this.
A wise person reminded me today of the law of averages or in simple terms from Wikipedia: a belief that outcomes of a random event shall “even out” within a small sample. If that is the case, then I guess my best answer would be to say that I have stayed with this cause so long because I have seen what happens when there isn’t a happy ending. And my goal – my determination – is to find a way to ensure our kids are safe before mother nature, the law of averages – or anything else gets a chance to “balance out the scales”.