Tuesday, July 29, 2008

van patrol!!!

Okay, first of all, I have to say that most of the girls working the streets around my area don't wear boots like that, but that's besides the point I suppose.

Saturday evening/night I worked a double, and it was AWESOME! I got to take a paramedic student out on van patrol (just us, cause we were short staffed) and talk to her about the streets, and addictions, and prostitution and homelessness and it was awesome. Basically we were supposed to just hand out condoms and stuff (through the window) but we wound up stumbling across what we thought was a stabbing!

So anyway, because it was just us two girls, one of them not staff, when we first saw the guy on the street we didn't stop. I thought he was drunk and crying and didn't see any blood. Going back the other way though, some girls flagged us down. And when I say girls, I mean these kids were under 18, out in a BAD area at 2:00AM. So we stopped, and when they said he'd been stabbed we put on gloves and decided to see what was up.

I was right, the guy was pretty heavily intoxicated. At first he wouldn't let the student see his eye, eventually she looked and it didn't look too bad. At first he told us he was 12, and since he was covering his whole face with his shirt it was hard to guess an age. At that point I turned that van back on and radioed base to phone 911 again (the girls said they had). I probably should have radioed when we stopped in the first place though...oops. Anyway, being intoxicated, the story kept changing. Eventually though I got a birth date and name... the guy was 20! I told our student though; maybe he was feeling 12. He was beat up and crying on the street after all.

It took 15+ minutes for any response from emergency services. I was NOT impressed. I mean fine, it's Saturday night, it's busy, but when 911 was called we said a 12 year old had been stabbed...12! Anyway, three cop cars, a fire truck, an ambulance and 2 medical supervisors show up. Talk about over kill. I mean I guess it's a bad neighbourhood, but it made me feel kind of weird that we just hopped out of our van, but the ambulance couldn't come with out police. I feel kind of...reckless? But I didn't feel unsafe...

Anyway, guy should be just fine. All the blood turned out to be from the punches he got in, and his eye was likely just punches. My guess is if he wasn't intoxicated he wouldn't have been so worried about it. It'll probably be black, but that's about it.

So today my supervisor pulls me aside to talk about the incident. "I saw on the report you went a stabbing...". He mentioned that need to get radios that don't need van power to run (YES), and said I did a good job, but I also felt like I was being reprimanded for taking unnecessary risks. I don't know though, I'm not convinced it was a bad situation. There were two of us, and we both felt safe. There were four other girls there, and two across the street. There was no sign of the people who'd done the beating, and there wasn't five minutes before that when we went the other direction. 911 had already been called, and so I kind of expected a quicker response!! I don't know... I do get scared of things, I really do, I'm not reckless, I have limits, I just felt like I was within them. Maybe it's a "you had to be there" type of situation.

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