Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hey, be careful out there.

I have ridden in a bambalance a couple of times. Once was no big deal; I had a couple broken bones, sure, but I felt chipper enough to threaten to hop up off the gurney and punch the EMT if he tried to cut my beloved leather jacket off me*.

The other time I was in screaming agony from the shattered bone ends of a truly horrific compound fracture grinding together and I wished the ambulance could go faster, maybe fly, and just hurry up and get me to the place where they kept the doctors with the no-kidding painkillers.

But in both instances I was very happy to have that ambulance swoop in in what seemed like no time flat and scrape my carcass off the pavement.

Last weekend, when Shootin' Buddy and I were driving to the range, I turned my head to look out the side window and he exclaimed "Holy...! Did you see that?"

"See what?"

"That ambulance! I've never seen one going that fast on the street! It must have been doing a hundred!"

Apparently, in the time it took me to turn my head 90 degrees to the right, blink, and then look forward again, an ambulance had flashed through the intersection a half block ahead of us. That's movin' right along.

Be careful out there, my friends in the ambos. I worry about y'all.

*We just took the jacket off instead; a scapula fracture isn't that big a deal if it doesn't go completely across the bone, and my thumb wasn't going to get any broker.


BGMiller said...

I like how the article mentions the driver of the vehicle that hit the ambo was transported "for a legal blood draw, which is standard procedure." Standard unless your ride has the flashy lights I guess.

And then.....
"IMPD is gathering evidence for the investigation. "

BEER RUN!!!!!!!


Firehand said...

Son knew a guy in his unit who had a pretty bad crash, and due to the circumstances the ambulance crew said they were required to cut his stuff off. One of them rode, and sympathized, but.

So they cut off his
New racing jacket
Almost new racing boots
Kevlar-reinforced jeans.
He said all that hurt almost as bad as the crash, even knowing the other guys' insurance was going to replace them.

Critter said...

last time i got tagged in the patrol car the abmo crew were about to cut off my not-very-new-but-still-highly-serviceable Danner boots. i objected and i still have the boots.

Anonymous said...

Yeah most of the time the ambulance drivers are pretty sedate really, considering. (Round here they rarely run the sirens or the lights.)

When you see one coming along with the full light show + all the noise and with pedal down it behooves us all to the give them all the room they can handle.

My mom got the full treatment going to a neurosurgery institute after her stroke, (seconds count) and though she didn't survive, my dad was ever so impressed & grateful at both the professional crew, and the way people got out of the way in downtown at rush hour like the red sea parting.

Steve Skubinna said...

Whoa-oh Black Betty, Bambalance!"

So that what the words are. They make sense now.

KM said...

and the way people got out of the way in downtown at rush hour like the red sea parting

In Phx we called those people "tourists".
Many f*%ktards just ignored us whether we were in the firetruck or the ambo.
Many times I've wanted to fire a warning shot into their left ear but that was frowned on by supervisors and would just create another call.

Brigid said...

Got a ride in a lifeflight once. The insurance didn't want to pay for it as it wasn't a "preferred provider". Like I was in a position to call around and find one in my network.

I'm just saving up for my iceflow. When the time comes, we'll put a sail on it like a Gilligan's Island raft, a Obama bumper sticker, a couple of cases of Yeungling and off I'll go into the socialized medicine sunset.

Motor-T said...

I thought it was amberlamps.

Will said...

I wonder how stable those box truck style ambos are, even with dually rears. Not sure I'd want to push them that fast. Plus, they're not exactly aerodynamic. Do they have the hp/gearing to move that fast?

In the early 70's, I serviced the local ambos at a small garage. Cadillac and Pontiac hearse body types, late 60's vintage. Very expensive tires on them. Any time I worked on them, I would take them out for a performance run :D
Can't recall which, but one brand would run 115 mph, the other 125. And get there in a hurry.

My girlfriend, who worked for one of the services, and not where we lived, called for help. I arrived home just before they arrived. I rode in the passenger seat. Wintertime, so no tourists on the island, and the driver had it flat to the floor the whole trip. We had to go to the center bridge/causeway, as the north one near where we lived was closed for damage. And the hospital was north of that. We hit triple digits in town, and the only time we dropped below that was for the drawbridge and 3 turns on the trip.

Later trip, different GF, I rode in the back with her, as there was only the driver (wintertime again), and I swear he was moving like it was a Sunday afternoon drive. Good thing I couldn't access the cab, or I would have tossed him onto the road. Anaphylactic shock, and she lost all vital signs for a couple minutes 'til we got there. I was sure she died.

My own trip a couple years later was in the box type, and I was introduced to a formidable form of torture know as an inflatable cast or splint. Dumb shits put one on my wrist, when my hand wasn't even in it's proper location. Wrist was shattered like a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle, and the hand wasn't lined up at all. (courtesy of a drunk driver colliding with my 750 Norton Commando) The thought of that cast has my hand twitching toward a knife as a reflex action.

Ted N said...

Because there's something for every topic on

Jeffro said...

Ambulance = worst ride ever when in a gurney in back.

chiefjaybob said...

I'm on my guys constantly to slow down. We aren't worth a s**t to anybody if we don't get to the scene and hospital safely. There was a study I once read years ago about "siren foot." When the siren went on, the right foot went down. It really takes concentration and discipline. I feel bad for your medics.

staghounds said...

In Welsh, its...

rickn8or said...


Are you spelling it that way so you don't inadvertently pronounce it "AMB-lance"?

Duckin', coverin' and scuttlin'.

PA State Cop said...

Had a lady entrapped in her econ box wheels up in a ditch. She was in a inaccessable position and roundly threatened us with divine justice if we cut the roof off her car. "Look Lady, either we tow the car to the ER or you get cut out. WE ain't waitin'." She didn't like me too much. ;)

Matt G said...

When I sat for my board of review to join the volunteer fire department a year and a half ago, they asked me what their best reasons were to take me on. I said, "I have three reasons why you want me:
1. I am big, and can pick up heavy things.
2. I know every back road in this region.
3. After a dozen years in law enforcement, I gave up being fascinated by driving fast with the woo-woo's on about a decade ago."

Just like that, I found that I was a volunteer fire fighter.

Jason Burgess said...

They wouldn't give you pain killers in the ambulance with a shattered bone? Next time try a gun shot wound. Years ago when I was young, stupid and accidently shot myself in the hand, they were nice enough to load me up on morphine before we even started moving. I was so high that I was cracking jokes the whole way there. I even told my grandmother, who was standing outside the hospital when we arrived, that I was just trying to be like my grandfather, who is missing his left hand.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

@ Jason Burgess: A bit over a decade ago the DEA went all overaggressive gung-ho and was prosecuting doctors right and left for "excessively" prescribing painkillers. As a result, there are still, to this day, some ER doctors who just will not let their medics give narcotics for pain relief - period, under any circumstances whatsoever. It's only in the last couple of years that we've started being able to appropriately treat even pain from isolated extremity fractures again without having to call the ER and beg the doc on duty for permission.

Spud said...

Once highsided doing 110 in a TT. Boot got hung up on the kickstart. Shattered my Tibia where it was sticking out front and my foot was pointing in the wrong direction.
No painkillers and a twenty mile ride to the hospital. Ambulance hauled ass tho, cuz I was making so much noise that they wanted that trip over with lol.
Didn't let them cut my favorite Bates leathers off me tho !

Will said...

Pain killers? HAH! None for the ride, and none while I laid on a gurney for a few hours in the hallway, while they waited for the chief orthopedic surgeon to show up. With two of those damn inflatables on me. Backwoods hospital, on a Sunday, in So Jersey.

That week is when I confirmed I had an unusually high tolerance to painkillers. The highest morphine dosage they were allowed to give only worked for two hours, and they told me it should have stunned a horse. Percodan and coedine I could eat like candy, pretty much. They had a problem trying to keep me under while they did the two surgeries on my wrist, and one on my knee. A most uncomfortable hospital stay. And the same for the three months I had the cast on the wrist, before they pulled the cross cast pins.

Paul said...

Only ambulance ride I ever had was from point of impact to hospital one, where they said they did all the could and sent me to a regionable hospital about 90 miles away. Ever ride came with bet on alive or dead at the end. I'm still here, and I don't remeber the ride. It was a looooong time ago back when hearse where thice.ambulanc of choice

Anonymous said...

Worked a while in NY City. Late afternoon and an ambulance caught in traffic on 42nd st, with no one giving way and pedestrians walking between cars. EMT came on the loudspeaker and "suggested" that those not paying attention might also not care if no one came when they needed help. OldeForce

jimbob86 said...

"I wonder how stable those box truck style ambos are, even with dually rears. Not sure I'd want to push them that fast. Plus, they're not exactly aerodynamic. Do they have the hp/gearing to move that fast?"

They don't ride as nice as the Caddyhearses, I'm sure, but there is room to work in the back,and they are (IME) more crashworthy than the hearses - I walked out our mishap (45mph into concrete lane dividers), on one end of our backboarded patient....

100+mph "diesel therapy" has to be weighed on a risk/benefit analysis .... our closest hospital is 15 miles, and the Trauma Center is only 22 ..... "10 Over" will often get you there before The Bird can even get in the air, provided you don't jack around on scene forever...... the minute or so you might save by going to "Ludicrous Speed" just is not worth it, in most cases.

Ed said...

Sometimes the kindest thing that the EMTs and ER people can do is to disassemble quickly your clothing and footwear from your shattered body.

Sometimes there is not enough time to waste additional seconds to carefully remove intact those things to which you are overly attached.

Sometimes you will be further damaged by the careful removal intact of your clothing and footwear. Intentionally harming someone and causing unnecessary pain is undesirable and is to be avoided under most conditions.

If conditions allow, it is much easier to remove intact leather and heavily constructed protective garments than to cut them with heavy duty scissors.

If you are unconscious and it is difficult to assess how badly you are injured, do not expect things to be intact when and if you regain consciousness. Your screaming is actually a good sign. You have a working airway, might be perceiving pain, are conscious of your situation and want help. Do not be surprised if the EMTs and ER people focus their attention on those who make less noise but need help more immediately than you.

Spud said...

Too bad every day drivers don't understand that all the speeding isn't really gaining much. Is a few minutes gained worth risking your own life let alone others lives ?
Slow down and enjoy life folks...
Ya wanna go fast ? Go to a track and have at er. Don't be a jerk.