Saturday, April 30, 2011

Suffer A Child

We decided she was about 8-months-old, and that seemed in line with the Broselow Tape, which put her weight at around 10 kg.
Her injuries weren't horrific, although the skull-deep laceration that ran from the top of her head to just between her eyes looked pretty dramatic.
But her loud wailing and vigorous movement led us to believe that our inability to find any other injuries was probably the right assessment.
Even if we could have found a broken bone or more cuts, it's most likely that the worst injuries are ones she won't know for a few years at least.
Because while my partner and I tended to this pretty little girl in the back of some random roadside ambulance, a couple hundred yards away her mother had died in an accident that left the first-arriving EMS crews so unnerved that their hands still shook.
I don't know what other family will be there for our patient -- hopefully a large and loving clan that will give her a chance at some semblance of a normal life.
When we got to our destination -- one which I'd love to name, but can't due to privacy laws -- I was impressed at the compassion of the trauma team.
They moved with the usual sense of purpose, but it seemed like each member who came into contact with the little girl took a moment to coo at her, or tell her how pretty she was, or cover her with a warm blanket, even if for just a moment.
And it gave me hope.
This job can make you cynical and hardened. It can take away your humanity, if you let it.
But at other times, you can see how it brings the best out in people, and give you hope even for the smallest and weakest among us.
I witnessed a tragedy today, and I witnessed sublime compassion.
I am going to go home after this shift, and I am going to thank God for what I am privileged to do for a living.

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