We had just finished a flight and were headed back to base. I was actually gonna get off work on time!
Seven minutes from landing the dispatch radio crackled...
"**** 2, are you available for a primary scene?"
"Is this confirmed?"
"Yes. Are you ready for coordinates? It's on main Street in
We're only 15 miles away from this little town. I turn the aircraft 40 degrees to the left and we instantly see dozens of flashing red lights.
"No, I won't need coordinates. We see the scene already."
"Roger, your contact is Unit 2600 on Fire/Mutual Aid."
I dial in the frequency and call...
"Unit 2600 this is **** 2 over."
"Go ahead **** 2"
"We have you in sight and should be overhead in 4 minutes or so. Can you update us with patient and LZ information at your convenience, please?"
"Roger **** 2, your patient is a 27 year old male, victim of an MVA. We are presently doing CPR on him. We'll land you in the Post Office parking lot just West of the scene. We're on our way to mark that area with strobes."
"No need 2600. I mailed a letter at that Post Office just last week and I'm quite familiar with it!"
"10-4 **** 2."
We land 100 feet from where the crews are doing CPR and can actually see them compressing the patient's chest as we land. My crew gets out, unloads the stretcher, and moves quickly to assist as I secure the aircraft and disembark to protect the tail.
Five minutes later my flight nurse comes back to the aircraft...
"You need to shut down. This is gonna take a while."
I shut the aircraft down and walk over to see if I can assist in any way. The patient's feet are pointed due East and West... legs obviously badly broken.
I'm always surprised at how violent CPR is...
Crews doing it properly frequently break ribs.
Under these circumstances my crew will help load the patient into an ambulance and take him to the nearest hospital. CPR can be done more efficiently in the back of the ambulance than it can in the helicopter. They actually get him aboard the ambulance and give him one last shot of adrenaline, and his heart starts beating!
... Back out of the ambulance and quickly to the helicopter, we load him and I start both engines. The flight to the level one trauma center takes 15 minutes. He survives the flight but arrests again in the ER and is pronounced dead there. Again, sometimes the best we can do just isn't good enough.
This is what it looks like when 9 people are conducting CPR and trying to keep you alive:
This Jeep Safari is the "hittee":
Unfortunately, our patient used a Pontiac Sunbird as the "hitt-er", and was the underdog in this collision:
The jeep looked like it could have been driven away if the front tire had been re-inflated.
Lesson learned: If you ARE gonna have a collision, DO try to pick on someone your own size!