Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SVMoms: Emergency at the Park

I'm chatting with some parents at a park watching our kids play in the sandbox when I hear a crash, following by a panicked yell, "Call 911. Somebody call 911!" We turn around to see a man flat on his back, totally unmoving, having crashed smack into a tree. We all take on various roles. There are a lot of kids and parents there, not just because we're in a park on a beautiful day, but we're here for a birthday party. A couple dads call 911 and ensure emergency crews are on their way. I see moms herding wandering toddlers away from the scene and I with a few other moms confirm that the older kids are so focused on their play they don't realize what's going on. I really don't want to kids to see this man lying there in the midst of their happy time. I'm thrilled to take on that role, because while I've taken CPR classes and have dealt with a couple trips to ER with my own kids, I'm not eager to jump in when it's a real emergency.

I also know my husband can handle that role, and in fact I see him at that moment running to his car for his fist aid kit. Because of his jobs, he's required to be re-certified in CPR and first aid every year, and he takes that responsibility very seriously. He's also a former bike racer, and has had his share of serious accidents, including a head-on collision with the back of a car, which he does not remember. He does, however, remember leaving the ER, only to realize when he got home nobody had cleaned off the blood after stitching him up. I suspect that experience was going through his head as he raced back to the accident victim.

I glance back to see him and a few other people hovering over the poor man, while speculation runs rampant. How could someone run into a tree that hard in the middle of a park, next to a playground full of kids and in front of a picnic table covered in food? Was the sun in his eyes? Did he swerve to avoid a child? Was he drunk? That one was a popular guess. Frankly I was freaking out a bit, as the minutes went by and there was no movement. I was also worried that while the kids might not be curious about a bunch of adults hovering around a tree, but what about when the firetrucks came? (Where were they, anyway?) How would we keep them away? The hostess was wondering if she should move the party. Amazingly, there was no reaction when the trucks arrived, and the crews were able to do their job with no interruption. It was also such a relief to see the man get up and walk around, although he clearly had a serious concussion and was taken to the hospital. I later found out the kids had noticed the firetruck but continued to play anyway.
When it was over, and we could relax, and, let's be honest, rehash the incident with those who hadn't seen it, a mom who I recognized but could not quite place, sidled up to me to say "Your husband, he's bad, he's a bad man." What was she talking about? "I told him not to touch him, to leave him alone, but he was wiping his hand, talking to him. He was very bad." She went on and I mumbled something about how my husband would have appreciate more help after his own accidents. This critical woman was in fact a nurse, and I didn't feel like I knew the right response. Upon later thought, though, I recalled my own CPR training, where your first response is supposed to be "Are you okay?" as you gently shake their shoulder. Remember that? You are not supposed to move someone of course due to potential back injury, but it's okay, in fact encouraged, to help, including checking their breathing, and pulse (which requires touching) possibly using a blanket. It seems the whole time my husband was asking the man if he was okay, trying to comfort him, and, gasp! wiping blood off his injured hand with an antiseptic wipe, she was literally yelling in his ear to leave him alone. Her worry was he might wake up agitated and perhaps attack my husband, maybe spread his germs. They still thought he was drunk, although my husband said he smelled no alcohol.

My husband seems to embody the statement "no good deed goes unpunished" and this was no exception. He was really bothered by the fact that this woman was a registered nurse who refused to do anything besides give him a hard time while he tried to help. She also accused him of not cleaning his hands well enough afterward. When a friend of mine came late to the party, I ran up to her to relay this story, as she's also a nurse. I told her I really wished she had been there, and she said "that woman would have yelled at me too, as I would have done a lot more than he did." I find myself constantly telling my husband to stop helping people unless he's asked, but I'm glad he's doesn't always listen. He's the one I want there when our kids stick a pea up their nose or fall off their bike, no matter what that woman says.

Original Silicon Valley Moms Blog post

1 comment:

  1. having worked in an ER it scares me to death to know that woman has any patient contact whatsoever. It makes my blood boil. There are so many out there who are good ppl and need a job and the fact that this beatch, sorry but she is, has anything to do with patient care just makes me livid.