Friday, November 16, 2007

A "Funny" Emergency

Yesterday was not a routine day at Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance, where I was the medic for the morning shift with my driver, Dave.

Late in the morning we had a true emergency - an SUV rollover with five teenagers in the vehicle. It was not as bad as it might have been, and all five are with us still.

But my first call was a gem. I got a bit worried when the 911 dispatcher called over the radio, "Pittsford, a call for a man in a garbage truck, screaming for help."

Most of you know that garbage trucks use powerful hydraulics to lift and crush trash, so my mind was processing scenarios of mayhem as we rushed to the scene. (It's not true that experienced EMT's desire tough calls; every one we don't get is a blessing.)

A few firemen were standing around the garbage truck, looking somewhat bemused, when we arrived. I pulled my medic bag from its compartment and walked quickly to the side of the garbage truck, calling out "Are you in there." A voice replied, "I'm in here." I asked, "Are you hurt?". He replied from somewhere, "I'm not hurt. Just get me out!" He then explained the controls on the side of the garbage truck.

Like a good EMT, I waited for the fire rescue truck to come and extricate the unfortune man, which they did with their ladders and reinforcing chocks.

Once out of the garbage truck bed, the man explained. "I put in recycled items, then I tried to close the clamshell but it stuck. So I got inside and pulled out the paper that had jammed it. I didn't realize that the pressure was still on the hydraulics, so the clamshell then closed and trapped me inside. Fortunately, a homeowner heard me yelling and called you guys."

I took the happy garbageman into the ambulance for a quick check-up, then released him back to his work. Thank heaven that some "emergencies" bring a little levity into the often sad job of a lowly EMT!


Dave said...

Much better tone! Dollar's going to hell but America, or upstate NY is safe for garbagemen while you are on the job!

Woozie said...

I'll bet he smelled like a bed of fresh roses.

Ron Davison said...

That's hilarious. Once on a plane I heard pounding from below. I walked up to the cockpit to tell the flight attendant and pilot that I thought one of the baggage handlers had been trapped. The flight attendant was incredulous but the pilot said, "We don't want to fly with someone in cargo." They investigated, a red faced baggage handler emerged some time later. It would have been a long flight from Dallas to San Diego.
I'm sure the guy was glad to hear you guys.