by Margaret Castaneda
My partner and I were just finishing up dropping off a patient at a nursing home when we received a call from dispatch. Our pediatric unit was picking up a patient and needed a pediatric transport from an emergency room nearby. Our dispatch warned my partner that the call would probably be needed to be upgraded to a Code 3 (lights and sirens).
We made our way to the ER, and nothing could have prepared me for the way this call would change my life. I walked into the trauma area and saw a woman with wet hair. She looked familiar and was staring into the room. Her eyes were bloodshot from what I can only imagine were the most painful tears a mother can cry. I walked in, and saw a small child laying on the bed, a nurse doing compressions, the doctor yelling for instruments to intubate, and controlled chaos all around me.
My partner asked that I get the mom in the truck and ready to go, so when the pediatric team was ready, we would load and go. I remember having no words to say to this mother. I have always been able to be compassionate with patients, especially their parents, but I had no words. I knew the look of death. I could not console, she too knew the look.
The little girl had been in the backyard playing, when she somehow fell into the pool. When her Mom found her, she jumped in the pool, pulled her out and started CPR.
The whole ride back to the children's hospital, I could hear her mom yelling at cars to get out of the way. The sirens were blaring and the monitors were beeping, and I stared at the little girl's wet hair. I helped effortlessly, as if it was just another patient. My partner and I didn't really talk the rest of our shift, except to say that we were going to have a drink after work.