Right now there are a lot of stories of nurses and emt’s and their bravery. Most of them have always been brave. Example;
I don’t remember the exact date; I’d been in the department 2 or 3 years so that would be 1972 or ‘73. It was during the midnight shift, the 11 pm to 7 am, and I do remember it was late and a slow night. I was working around the airport on Nimitz highway when I get a call about a vehicle accident at Lagoon Drive and Nimitz.
Three cars were involved, one turned into the oncoming lanes and hitting head on the two oncoming vehicles. The first car had only one person and the other two each had two or three people each. The reason it was unclear how many was in each car was there seemed to be bodies everywhere. The impact threw the driver of the first car through the windshield, no seatbelt, and into the path of one of the two oncoming cars.
A passenger of one of the other cars was also thrown out of their vehicle and was hurt badly. Passengers from all the involved vehicles had gotten out of the cars and were sitting down, in a couple of cases bleeding, in the street.
I was the second patrol to arrive on the scene. The first patrol there was driven by Floyd, a guy I had known for several years, and in fact we had been in the military police together. He had become an EMT before joining the police and had kept up his training. He was working on the injured driver when I arrived. An ambulance arrived but like everyone else was shorthanded and there was a combination driver/emt manning it.
The driver jumped out and started giving aid to the people sitting in the street. But it was Floyd that was doing most of the work. He was somehow keeping two people alive without help. He had them side by side, so he didn’t have to move much to tend to both. It was a lot even for him.
The ambulance driver said the others were ok, other patrol units were on the way, but the two Floyd had been working on needed to get to a hospital as soon as possible. So Floyd and I did what we thought was the best solution.
Floyd and the EMT grabbed gurneys and we loaded the two injured into the back of the ambulance. Floyd and the EMT got in the back and I got in the driver’s seat.
I had never driven an ambulance before, but the emt/driver was needed more in the back, so this was a first. I didn’t know much about the vehicle, but I knew where the lights were, and the gas pedal, and the quickest route to the nearest hospital, so away we went.
I probably was driving like a man crazed because we made it to St. Francis hospital really quick. Fast enough that both the injured were still alive and breathing. Floyd and the EMT were doing a heck of a job considering how little room there was in the back, but they did it. We got there and both the injured were removed from the ambulance and taken inside to the ER.
The driver of the first vehicle did die later that night, but he arrived at the hospital alive and that was what mattered to me.
Then Floyd and I found our problems just getting started. We had left both patrol cars at the scene, and another driver had taken the ambulance away while we were inside the hospital. They had kind of abandoned us and hadn’t told anyone we were still there. So it took a while to get another patrol unit to come and pick us up.
When we finally did return, we were both confronted by an angry sergeant who wanted to know why we had left the accident scene, why I was driving a vehicle I wasn’t cleared to operate, and just when did we expect to finish these reports. He didn’t want to hear about taking the victims to the hospital, that was not our job.
We weathered the verbal storm, finished our reports, talked with the traffic investigators, and went back to patrol.
I really felt the Floyd had performed “above and beyond” that night. There had been no supervisor on the scene before we took off so his actions were not witnessed by anyone but me. So I wrote up what I thought was the correct form to give Floyd a commendation for his actions. I was probably the first patrolman to recommend another patrolman for a citation. The lieutenant and the area sergeant both told me, very loudly, that it “just wasn’t done”.
I guess they were afraid that all the patrolmen would start recommending each other for numerous citations and such. But I did it anyway.
I wrote it up and submitted it to the Chief of Police. Another one of my brilliant ideas that came back to bite me in the ass. Not only did Floyd not get a citation, I got an ass chewing and a reprimand for driving the ambulance without the proper license and a good going over by the watch commander for “going over his head”. And laughed at by a whole lot of people.
I still think Floyd should have received a commendation for his heroic actions that night and for the life he saved and the life he almost saved.
Floyd, if you ever read this, if you remember that night, well done.