Archive for the ‘accident’ Category

Every year, the District Grand Lodge of South Africa North, of the Grand Lodge of England, hosts its annual banquet in honour of the charity recipients selected by the Masonic Benevolent Committee. 

   
   
Over the past 20 years, over R 25 Million has been donated to non-Masonic charities. 

  
The recipients  this year were  the Three Church feeding schemes, Impilo Home for Aids Orphans, The Gordon Foundation Swaziland, The Hero Burns Unit Pretoria and the Green Beings Solar Lighting Project. 

As usual, the recipients receiving the larger donations attended the banquet to receive their respective cheques, and to provide some background to their charities. 

  
The Amazing Grace Children’s Home received a generous donation to build a new laundry. 

And then, the recipient who received the larger amount, was one that shares a special place in my heart. As an Emergency Practitioner, I have seen the devastation traumatic head injuries cause, so seeing an organization like Headway benefiting from our charity  drives really warms my heart… 

  
.. And what made it even more special, was they were represented by two amazing women I worked with, and became good friends with, many years ago at Glynnwood Hospital. 

  
Sally and Bianca, we are all so proud of your achievements at Headway. Well done and keep up the amazing work you do for the patients and their families. 

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Today, 10 years ago…

Posted: September 11, 2014 in accident, Keanu, medical

… I was an operational Advanced Life Support Paramedic for one of the national private ambulance companies in Durban.

It was a time for me when I was at a very low point in my life. I was frustrated working in Durban, just moved from one company to another, burnt out after many years of seeing the affects of irresponsible parents when their children have drowned, drunk drivers walking away from the carnage they caused, the savage torture of innocent families during house invasions and the daily violence which has become so common it didn’t make any news stories.

This very night I met a family at their most extreme period of vulnerability, a fateful meeting which I can honestly say changed my life. Even today, looking back on 18 years of operational experience as an ALS Paramedic, I can count on one hand the cases which really effected me.

I have shared much about young Keanu https://carlsstuff.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/that-special-one/ and I can’t believe that his life changing moment which occurred at a mere 3 months old was 10 years ago. It feels like yesterday I arrived on that scene. I can still see the vehicles on the wet ground from the rain earlier in the evening, the reflection of the flashing lights from the police vehicle creating an eery feeling and the all familiar aroma of an accident scene. A distinctive smell which EMS around the world can relate to.

Looking at Keanu now, seeing how he has grown with his ever increasing challenges and the permanent effects of a massive head injury and cerebral bleeds, I’ve often thought why do we as healthcare professionals try so hard to save lives. We study for many years, have the most updated knowledge and skills to perform the impossible in the most difficult situations, only to see the long lasting effects of an injury such as this.

And then, it’s this very miraculous child, that answers my own question. He was for all intensive purposes brain dead, with the family accepting the inevitable of making the most difficult and heartbreaking decision any parent can make, and one pray changed all that.

Those who know me, will know I’m not a very religious person. I believe in a Supreme Being who created all and in salvation, but that’s as far as it goes! But…. I can honestly say, this pray worked !!!…. He woke up and lived.

His injuries has resulted in excessive long term disabilities, the latest being osteoporosis. But through all this, he has brought joy to his parents lives, a happy little boy who thrives on his mom’s love, and knowing nothing else but the love he feels from his family.

Why am I writing all this? Quite simply to assure all EMS practitioners out there, that whilst we save the lives on a daily basis, and ponder as I have as to the validity of our actions, it does make a difference. Always believe that, because despite the long term outcome and how we feel when we see that, we must always be cognitive of the fact that you have performed the ultimate act anyone can provide…. You saved a life, and allowed them to live !

A miraculous recovery

Posted: January 25, 2014 in accident, Keanu, Uncategorized

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We all have that case we will never forget. Despite 1000’s of patients and scenes and situations, just one will always stand out above all others. One that we always remember in minute detail. One which we wonder about what could’ve, would’ve should’ve…..

That patient who, despite medical opinions, diagnosis’s and prognosis’s, logic and common sense, proves that miracles do in fact happen

Mine….was a special little boy,who survived against all odds…https://carlsstuff.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/a-visit-to-a-very-special-boy/

And last night, I had the privilege to meet another miracle. A patient of Nicole’s, whose life changed completely in a split second 14 years ago that very night. His recollections of that fateful night were patchy, and the memories describing the last 14 years were filled with pain, fear, anger and strength.

Just another night, no different to any other, Neil and his friends were at a local restaurant, enjoying a great evening, as they had done many times over.
A slip of a foot, a misplaced hand, sent Neil tumbling over the railing on the balcony. Managing to grab hold, he hung over the edge, and felt his fingers slipping. Neil plummeted 1 story down, landing on the hard ground below.

By some cruel twist of fate, his body had fallen at an angle, and he crashed onto the parking lot below, with his back and shoulder slamming into the concrete pavement.

Battling to breath, Neil lay sprawled across the pavement, feeling no pain…in fact…. He felt nothing at all!

Paralyzed from the chest down, he lay awkwardly whilst his friends tried to move him.
Nicole arrived at this moment, having responded from the fire station, directly across the road. Preventing any further movement, she assessed the situation and went into action. Immobilized, sedated and ventilated, Neil was airlifted to hospital with 13 fractured vertebra including the dreaded Hangmans fracture.

Prognosis?

IF Neil survived, he had a 95%chance of quadriplegia.

After 7 months in traction, multiple operations, spinal fusions and intensive therapy, Neil walked again.

A self made businessman, he pushed himself with absolute determination to recovery. 13 years later, Neil managed to track Nicole down and arranged to meet, and the two sat and reminisced every detail.

Neil had the opportunity to thank the paramedic who saved him, and filling in the blanks, finding the closure needed.

His amazing wife Sue, who witnessed the accident whilst in the early stages of their relationship, described to me how the last 13 years have been. I sat in awe, listening to how they built a relationship and ultimately a marriage amidst the most difficult circumstances.

With signs of spinal injury still evident, Neil spoke of trials and tribulations, and successes and miracles. I found him to be a very positive and humble man, and the love between the two everlasting.

Normally I don’t enjoy meetings with patients.It has always been an unwritten rule in the EMS, one I broke when I met Keanu so many years after his accident. Having spoken about him, dreamt of him, prayed and wondered, it was without a question the greatest feeling and moment I have experienced. That pure joy, seeing Keanu with Lisa, experiencing the deepest level of love between mom and son, made me realize we have been way too emotionless in our profession.

And I saw the same last night, watching Nicole and Neil talking, tears glistening while each spoke of their own experience of that fateful night.

Injury specific, Neil should not have been sitting sitting in front of us, having dinner and getting to know each other. And if, by some miracle, he had survived, should have been a quadriplegic. Yet here he was, walking and talking.

Do miracles exist?

Lisa and Sue can answer that, and Keanu and Neil can attest for that.

… are upon us…..well….ME!

Since starting studying, I have worked operationally for 17 years in various roles. I’ve been a paramedic, a Station Officer, an Instructor and course coordinator, a Flight paramedic on helicopters and airplanes, a manager at different private ambulance services and thinking back, I’ve had the privilege of responding at high speeds on the roads in Johannesburg, free state and Durban in  a wide variety of cars.

Ford sierra , opel kadetts, mazda 6, ford telstar, ford mondeo, Toyota camry, audi A4, BMW 328, Golf GTI, Jetta TDI, Toyota RXI, RunX, Colt rodeo, Subaru WRX, Subaru Legacy….hmmm, I could go on, those are the memorable ones.

I have been the the most fortunate person saving many a childs life, seeing the joy in parents eyes when they realise their precious creation has lived through a tragedy.

I have been the unfortunate person, resuscitating countless children due to parents neglect in the form of drownings, car accidents, firearm accidents and abuse. I cant tell you how many small lifeless bodies I held in my arms, after fighting to keep them alive, with tears rolling down my cheeks.

I have delivered many a baby, in shacks, in mansions, in the open veld and inside cars.

I have broken the news to wives that their husbands of 50 years have passed on,seeing the sadness when realisation hits them that for the first time in longer than I have been alive, they are alone now.

I have witnessed the after effects of spousal and child abuse, I have comforted small children after their mommy have been killed by their abusive daddy. I have treated hundreds of gunshot victims, under constant gunfire sometimes, assaults, stabbings, burns…. I’ve seen the savagery of the human race, torture, rape, and other atrocities i’d prefer to forget.

I have responded to thousands of motor vehicle accidents, cut up countless cars,

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                      witnessed the luckiest people surviving spectacular crashes

                                                                                                                                            seen cars in trees

                                                                                                                            cars in precarious positions

                                                                                                                                      Truck accidents

                                                                                                                       rubbish trucks rolling into gardens

                                                                                                                                Bus and train accidents

                                                                                                           mountain rescues (I even broke my wrist on this one)

                                                                                                                                      even ship rescues

Basically, I have seen every atrocity, experienced sadness and grief, witnessed the worst you can imagine…..

BUT

I have been the most fortunate person around. I have been in a profession that values life, working alongside heroes, men and women who dedicate their lives, their family time to help others, regardless of the pain they experience. And now, its time to hand over the reigns to the younger generation.

its time for me to pack my jumpbag away, hang up the rescue jacket.

I salute all the paramedics, Firefighters, Police officers, and all those involved in the Emergency Services still out there. You guys are doing a fabulous, rewarding job (even though it doesn’t feel like it).

Destruction of ecstacy

Posted: July 14, 2011 in accident, cars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In May last year, i had the fortune to drive a Ferarri F430 https://carlsstuff.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/pure-ecstasy/

 

This vehicle is a serious power machine, pure ecstacy, nay, orgasmic, to drive… and today, I got to see the vehicle in a somewhat different manner.

A fortunate ,or soon to be not-so-fortunate, person purchased the Italian masterpiece, and was waiting at home eager for his new toy to arrive.

Unfortunately the salesman bringing  his vehicle , lost control of it, and decided to change the face of it forever!

(PICTURE TAKEN WITH MOBILE PHONE)

(PICTURE TAKEN WITH MOBILE PHONE)

(PICTURE TAKEN WITH MOBILE PHONE)

Not exactly what he was waiting for….

Sad, so very very sad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week has been a bad one. Once again bringing to the forefront child safety in cars, a subject which, unfortunately, appears NEVER to end.

Starting off with a minibus taxi rolling, sending all the occupants flying out the vehicle, initially killing  a 6 month old little girl. Lying just 10 m away, sprawls an 18 month old girl, barely alive, hanging to the last of her breath… I managed to stabilize as best as we could, then sent her to hospital, where sadly she died…

This is a contentious issue in that, while I’ve been a huge advocate for car seats in private vehicles, here we have another problem. Public transportation offers absolute no option for child safety for their passengers… and in the current economic climate, majority of the people utilizing these methods to get to work, take their children with them to drop off at a daycare center, nursery school or wherever. These taxi, transport, legally, 16 passengers, in reality, up to 30… and offer absolute no protection for the little ones.

THEN, last night I went out to a horrific accident… Family driving back home, had a head on collision with on of these taxi’s… massive impact, all occupants were injured.  But relatively minor in comparison, and why? because THEY of course were wearing seat belts!

The impact severe, but other occupants relatively uninjured, proving effectiveness of seatbelts

But the worst off was the little 4 year old girl, who, had the utmost and innocent trust in her mother and father to take care of her…

She was standing in-between the driver and passenger seat on impact, her body was flung forward with a huge force, slamming her beautiful body into the dashboard,  cracking her skull, snapping her neck, rupturing her organs and breaking her little bones!

have a look at the back seat: NO car seat, and intact shell..children would’ve been safe

Despite very aggressive resuscitation,…She will NEVER know what it will be like to learn to read and write, she will NEVER say “I love you ” to her mom and dad again, NEVER get to play in the garden with her dolls, NEVER go to “big school”, NEVER have her first kiss, NEVER have her first boyfriend, and NEVER have the opportunity to make a difference in this sick, cruel world of ours.

and why is that…because despite aggressive resuscitation efforts, this beautiful 4 year old girl died… in front of me…and while my 4 year old daughter sleeps at home…and I cannot help but feel this enormous loss that these parents will feel when we tell them the news. And what do we tell them?

simple….Your daughter is dead… because

YOU didn’t have a car seat.

YOU didn’t  keep her safe.

…I am tired!

I have been in this depressing and emotional career for 16 years… and I am so tired of seeing innocent little children dying because the very people who they trust, literally with their lives, FAIL them. And its always the same…

I drive safely    REALLY? What about the other idiots on the road

It wont happen to me: HMM: thats what thousands of distraught families thought before I tell them they killed their children.

so, I go home after this, walk into my daughters bedroom, and I gave her a big kiss on the forehead, I tell her that I love her so much, and  grateful she is in my life,  and thank God that I have a car seat, and that since the day she first left the hospital at birth, she sat in one… and NEVER has sat in the car without one. because, I love her, and I am responsible for her.

I only wish, that all these so-called parents out there take heed… IT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!

So for the love of your creation, PLEASE, use car seats!

Siegfried (Stan) Grundlingh was one of those firefighters that never gave up, and NEVER left a man behind.

A true Fireman, a great friend, one that I had the pleasure of working with whilst stationed at Benoni Fire and Emergency services. We worked and partied hard together…

Yesterday, the fire-bell rang for the last time for him, and he died tragically in Abu Dhabi in a motor vehicle accident.

Goodbye old friend. You will be missed by all!

The fireman

Hey mom!” He yelled from the attic door,

“What’s these old heavy boots and hard hat for?”

With a lump in her throat and a tear stained cheek

His mother swallowed and started to speak.

“Come here my son,” his mother said,

“There’s things to tell when I clear my head.”

The past races madly through her mind.

She searched her heart for the words to find.

At last she sighed and rubbed his hair

And the words that followed I’d like to share.

“Those boots & hat,” She said with pride,

“Were worn by a man with grit inside.

He wore them to help people in need.

Though facing danger would never concede.

Many a time in the dead of night

He jumped in those boots and flashed out of sight

To answer a call, not knowing for sure

What danger or heartache he may have to endure.

Your father, my son, was not like most dads,

It was mainly because of the job he had.

His life was devoted to all of mankind,

Just why he chose it’s not clear in my mind.

I’ve often regretted the life that we led,

When every third night I was alone in our bed.

But your mother is proud to say she was part

Of a man who possessed such a courageous heart.

So the memories I’ve kept & the love I will save

Are small consolations for the life that he gave.

Yet, for all his discomfort & all of his pain

The time that he spent here was never in vain.”

I know full well these words to be true,

And not one word did she misconstrue.

But from all my mother shared that day

It’s these last few words I’d like to convey.

My mother, with tears, save a long loving sigh,

And I knew what would follow was not meant to die.

With a smile so warm & a voice very weak,

She kissed my young brow & started to speak.

“Your father’s days here made others seem brighter.

For your father, my son, was a firefighter.

This poem was taken from the bulletin board at Engine 50 CFD. The author is unknown