I started the day like any other day. Running calls for random people with abdominal pain and vomiting. I was starting to get annoyed.
I got a text from my friend, he got a job he had been applying for, for a long time. I was really excited. I texted him to say congratulations.
I was about to get off shift, and texted my girlfriend at the time, "We still good for dinner?"
She texted back and said, "Yep! My brother and his gf are coming too."
I was excited to go to dinner, we were going to get sushi - my favorite.
At that moment I heard the tones drop.
"In the area of XXX, a pediatric patient not breathing. Ambulance 30, Paramedic 12, Engine 1, due to respond"
I felt numb.
The engine responded first, "Engine 1 responding, sergeant and 3"
I heard the engine get on scene first. "Engine 1, Dispatch, CPR in progress".
I responded, "Paramedic 12, Dispatch, Responding."
I was only a few minutes way. I was scared. Normally pediatric CPR calls are just the family over reacting. But this seemed like the real deal.
"Paramedic 12, Dispatch, on scene."
I was the next person to arrive on scene. I was in the zone - nothing mattered but finding the patient and doing everything I was trained to do.
I arrived at the patient's side. My heart sank. I saw the firefighters beginning to stand up. I ran to them and yelled "Report?!"
They looked at me, and said "Dead on arrival, sir".
I looked at them for a moment, adrenalin turning into sorrow. I then looked down. I saw an infant child lying on the pavement.
I bent down to assess the patient. Rigor Mortis had already set in. I stood up shocked. I turned to the crowd of police/fire/bystanders.... "what happened?".
A police officer approached me and said, "The child was left in a car all day."
It was almost 95 degrees outside...who knows how hot in the car...
It turns out civilians saw the child in the car when they were leaving to go home from work, and the door was unlocked. They proceeded to remove the child and try to perform CPR. That is what the firefighters saw when they arrived, and was why they reported "CPR in progress" over the radio.
Some may say, "Seeing a dead child must be really hard."
Yes, that is true.
But the true horror is what comes after death. The dad was this driver.. claims he forgot the child was in the car because he wasn't the usual day care parent.
I remember pronouncing the child dead, and walking back to my unit.
I was stuck on scene for a long time because it was a potential crime scene. We all had to make a statement. I think about 1.5 hours went by.
That's when I heard it. The deafening screams. The mother had arrived. I remember sitting in my unit, the sound of the screams echoing in my ears. I was frozen, I felt defeated, ashamed, worthless.
I opened my door and stepped out. I saw the mother being held at a distance by police. She was crying and screaming. I started to walk towards her, an officer grabbed my arm and said "Son, it's not your fault."
I stood there staring, watching, listening. Angered.
I finally got off shift and texted my gf. They had waited for me. We met at the restaurant to finally get dinner. I ordered a lot of sushi, the good kind too. It was a rough day.
While we were eating my girlfriend's brother asked, "Did you hear about that kid who died in the car from the heat?"
I rudely stood up from the table and went to the restroom.
I stared into the mirror.
I heard the mothers screams.