Many of us have jobs, however there aren’t many that can compare to this one. This night started just like many other nights but this night was truly going to be different. I was posted in the Emergency Department where most of the times we are there for crowd control and to ensure that no one gets in the way of the staff. There are times when the staff uses us to keep an eye on out of control patients and people that might be looking to hurt themselves. Tonight however, I was going to face a trial by fire that I was not prepared for.
As I’m doing my rounds I started to notice that the staff was shuffling about a bit more than normal. I was curious to see what was going on and soon overheard some of the emergency staff talking about an accident that had just occurred on a nearby highway. Putting two and two together, I realized that they were bringing the involved parties to our facility. As the hustle and bustle continued an announcement came from the overhead system informing the staff to prepare for an Alpha trauma and multiple motor vehicle accident victims. Not long after the page, we could hear the sirens of an ambulance in the distance, as they neared they got louder and the mood in the E.D. thickened.
My mind started to race as I prepared myself for what might be coming through the door. The sirens continued to get louder and I began to doubt myself, “was I even ready for this?” The moment of truth had arrived, the first ambulance pulled to the door and the staff raced out. I stood fast by the doors waiting to see if the staff was going to need my assistance. A Police Officer then pulled me aside and began to ask me questions. He then promptly escorted me back inside and asked me to relay some information to my superiors in regards to the developing situation. As soon as I was off the radio the Police Officer gave me a blood soaked paper bag and instructed me to go through it and find any documents that might aid him in identifying an individual. As I worked on the contents of the bag I looked up and saw that a patient was being wheeled in on a gurney with hospital staff giving him chest compressions.
I was quickly reminded that I work in a hospital and the things that one sees are not always pleasant. I had to divert my eyes from the chaos so I could go back to searching for items through the bag. Reaching the bottom of the bag would require me to start pulling items out. The first item that I pulled out was a white pair of Nike shoes that were, needless to say, not white anymore. The next item that I pulled out of the bag was a blood soaked pair of blue jeans. I searched all the pockets and found a set of keys and a wallet. I opened the wallet and found an I.D., pictures, and just a few dollars. As I went to pull the I.D. out to give it to the Officer I noticed that this was the man that was brought in on the gurney. I put the I.D. aside and reached in the bag for the last item. I slowly maneuvered a brown leather jacket out of the bag, being extra careful to not get any blood on me. The fear of contagion ever present in the back of my mind.
The jacket felt a bit heavier than it should so I was worried that it might have something in it. I was finally able to wiggle the jacket out of the bag and the second that I unfolded the sleeve, a large mass of partially coagulated blood fell from the jacket and exploded when it hit the floor. I stood there, for what seemed to be an eternity before I reacted. I then realized that I was covered in blood and many of the nurses were looking at me. I searched the pockets of the jacket and found a cell phone. I promptly handed the phone and the I.D. to the Police Officer and he walked away. I was left there, by myself, covered in blood, wondering what had just happened. Looking back at this night, I saw, I smelled, and heard things that I will never forget.