Posts Tagged ‘accident’

Yep, I’m back. Its been a while since I logged into my blog. Today is one of those days the blog will be my couch.

Since leaving the road over a year and a half ago, I pretty much dove into my new corporate life with gusto. It took less than a month to stop carrying equipment in my car and packed it away in a cupboard.

Now, whilst I have kept up with the latest teachings, updating my ACLS, and PALS, it still isnt actually treating patients. A decision I havent regretted making. I love my new career, and personally, I feel I have fulfulled my short term goal, and now for the long term.

Anyway, part of my function involves alot of travel. From neighboring countries to major cities and tiny towns in South Africa.
Today, whilst on the road,having just left a Service Provider, a huge accident happened in front of me.

17 years of operational experience as Advanced Life Support couldnt have prepared me for the emotions of today.

Taking the chaos in, with the dust settling,  I went into automatic mode. Moments later I’m kneeling on the grass, holding a little 2 year old lateral, his blood on my hands and arms, trying to clear his airway, while shouting at bystanders who were arriving to call ambulances. I have at my disposal over a 100 ambulance services, so I got another bystander to phone my company call centre, while telling people standing around to phone others. All I knew, I desperately needed ALS to assist.

I saw his little mouth take a last breath, and started CPR. Being operational, I have always had a boot full of equipment at a stretch away, and here I was, compressing this tiny chest, knowing that all I could do, is perform CPR which will keep his heart going long enough until help arrives.

And they did. Extremely fast. Advanced Life Support Paramedics from different private ambulance services arrived and I stood back and watched them take over. I realised then, that this is what it feels like when I used to arrive. The feeling of extraordinary relief when the the response car stops and you realise help has arrived.

The way these Paramedics and ambulance crews, from competing companies, worked together, made me so proud. There was no competitive bickering over the patients, just all working together to save this innocent little boy.

The little boy? I don’t know…. He is in ICU… And now its a waiting game.

When I drove from the scene to the office, I felt emotions welling up. Operationally, it was always debriefing thoughts going through my mind, what we did, what we didnt do, what we missed, what we could’ve done better etc.
Today, I felt like a normal average joe, having been involved in a horrific scene, and now alone with my thoughts as I drove the 80 km back to work.

Although my experience is telling me the worst, I still pray he lives to play again!
And yes, the jump bag goes back in the car!

To the ambulance services, paramedics, fire fighters and police who helped today. Thank you for your selfless commitment to serve the public.


Today I visited a very special person. A person that I met 6 years ago, whilst on duty, going about my daily routine, responding to accident, shootings, to chest pain to asthma attack.

On the 11 September 2004, this healthy young lad, just 4 months old, was in his car seat, in the back of mom and dads car, going home. Dad stopped at a red robot…and then…his entire world was turned upside down.

A car came flying up behind them, and smashed into the back of his car, completely destroying the back of his car, ripping his car seat away from the structure.

He sustained a very severe head injury. I arrived on scene, assessed, stabilized which included passing a breathing tube into the trachea (Endotracheal tube) and ventilated him to the trauma unit. The prognosis was very bad, severe multiple brain bleeds filled his little head. The doctors said that he had a 5% chance of survival….

But the family wouldn’t accept that. They prayed day in and day out.Everyday I visited, mom was by his side, praying some more. And just when all hope was gone, a miracle happened.

He opened his eyes.

And so started a very long recovery period. This young lad was released from hospital, and from that day, for the last 6 years has undergone extensive physiotherapy. He flew off to China, where he underwent Stem Cell Treatment, saw specialists in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and now Johannesburg. His brain damage resulted in blindness as a result of optic nerve damage, and is mentally and physically disabled. He has multiple seizures daily, and is 100% dependent on mom.

I have thought about this young man for the last 6 years. Every day he has been on my mind, the one case that has always had me wondering and thinking and worrying. One day last year, while thinking about that accident, I felt inspired to write a poem. And after another posting, My sister Jeanette searched the Net, and found him for me. So after contacting his mom, Lisa, I planned a visit. A visit that I was expecting to be very emotional. But…it wasn’t, in fact, it was the complete opposite.

Today i saw Keanu Santos for the first time in 6 years. A patient I had treated, that affected me greatly, that inspired me to continue working the road, and help these little precious people.

and let me tell you. WOW. What an amazingly happy boy. In his own way, he communicates with his mom, and watching these two with each other, you cant help not feel the love. Its all powerful, this bond between mom and son. Yes, he is handicapped, yes he is blind…but he is ALIVE, both physically and in personality. It just makes all I see on the road, all worthwhile.

(picture courtesy of Lisa Santos)

I do know that Lisa would like to send him to Germany for further Stem Cell Treatment, which will obviously cost a fortune. I hope this comes through for him.

His story can be found on

I am very glad I visited him today, and will definitely do so again, and I take my hat off to Lisa, for being such a strong and loving mother. And to you Lisa, well done for placing him in a car seat that and every other day. All parents should take heed, and follow your example. If he had not been in one; he wouldn’t be here today.

I seem to be going through a serious emotional time at the moment. Things are happening in my life that are forcing me to re-look at certain things.

So today, feeling a bit lonely, I was going through a box of old things, and found something that shook me to my first birthday. This specific item was given to me in the Christmas following a case i had gone to that changed my life forever. And looking and reading it, brought all the memories, both good and bad to the forefront. I cried holding this, even Erin asked me what was wrong.

I was told this young man would die, based on the best medical science, all believed it, though all prayed it wouldn’t happen.

It didnt.

He lived.

I wrote a poem a while ago about him. I think this poem is better…

I have no idea what happened to him after he was discharged, I wish i knew, unfortunately I lost touch with his parents.

So, to Victor, Lisa and most especially Keanu, wherever you are, you guys are the most special people i have ever met in my life, because the fact is:

YOU saved me!

I swear I didn’t drink tonight, daddy, I remembered what you said                                    You told me not to drink and drive, so I drank soda instead.

I feel real proud inside, daddy, the way you said I would,                                                           I feel responsible daddy, despite the others said I should.

they tried to get me to drink daddy, but I kept my head real cool,                                           I told them I need to drive home tonight, and I’m not a fool

And as I drove down the road, daddy, I forgot to do one thing                                              my seat belt is what I didn’t put on, tonight I wasn’t thinking

I didn’t see the other car, daddy, so fast down the road he was coming                                   he just came out in front of me, and sent me flipping and rolling

As I lay there on the pavement, daddy, I hear the medic say                                                    the other guy has been drinking and now I’m the one who will pay.

I should have worn my seatbelt daddy, then it wouldn’t be so bad,                                          and I didn’t even drink tonight, that makes it oh so sad.

There is blood all around me, daddy, and all of it is mine,                                                           I hear all the people saying that I’ll die in a short time.

The guy who hit me is walking, daddy, and I don’t think it’s fair,                                             I’m lying here dying and all he can do is stare.

The pain is excruciating daddy, I can hardly bear it,                                                                 and the ventilator is breathing for me, because my body cannot.

Its getting dark now daddy, i think its getting time,                                                                    I should have worn that seatbelt, and then all would be fine.

Tell my mom I love her, daddy, Tell gran to be brave, And when I go to heaven, put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave.

The pain in no longer there, daddy, I feel so surreal,                                                                   the machines have stopped breathing for me, I have now made a deal

With the angel that stands beside me, daddy, to take me to my new home,                               Goodbye my friends and family, these 24 years have flown.

This is a mistakenly adaption of a poem i must’ve read years ago, which had stuck in my head. As i wrote it, the words flowed in a lot easier than the previous one, which is probably why. I only realized after I had posted it.  shows you how some stuff can just stick into your head. I was writing about a young lady who did not see the end of  Friday night.

That special one.

Posted: July 20, 2010 in medical, poetry
Tags: , , , ,

I wrote this poem today, remembering the one that survived… He was strapped in his car seat. If he hadn’t…

That special one

I look around the scene that night
through the flashing of the lights
This is a bad one, I say out aloud,
I wonder if anyone’s alive.
My student finds you in the car, amongst the twisted metal,
he scoops you up and runs to me, like his foot is on the peddle.
“I found this baby,” he says to me, “the accident crushed his head
I’m not so sure if he is still alive, but I do not think he is dead”.
I pick you up and look at you,
your face so sweet and pale,
Your dying eyes look at me, splitting my heart in two.
This is one we have to save, I say to everyone,
I can see, its clear to me,
that this is a special one.
And as I inserted the tube of life, praying under my breath,
your mom and dad looking on, begging for success.
The doctors said there is no hope, and as I stood and looked on
“3 months old”, I say to myself, “God help this little one”.
A selfish drunk crashed into you, while you were going home
She can see the anger in my eyes, when I tell her what she’s done.
Night and day I walked inside,
And sat beside your bed,
I prayed and watched over you,
“This is a special one”, I said
And then one day, your mom looked up, as I walked into the room,
With tears streaming from her eyes, “I hoped to see you soon”
“My boy will live” she cried out loud “look, he is awake”
I held your hand, and wept a tear, the team has crossed the lake.
Every day I think about
That terrible fateful night.
The day I met a small young boy,
Who fought with all his might.
The boy who inspired me to go on, to continue in this game
The miracle child that gave me hope, Keanu is his name.
And while I sit and ponder now,
What could and should be done,
I think about a fateful night,
I met that special one.
Carl de Montille
This work is protected by copyright.  Publication, recording, replication,  reproduction, and distribution by any measure to any degree, by any device, is prohibited without the authors consent.

Sometimes they die

Posted: July 14, 2010 in medical, Poem
Tags: , , , ,

I’m already going to lose you,                                                                                                           I don’t even know your name .                                                                                                        In a world of flashing lights,                                                                                                           the sound of glass and steel breaking free,                                                                                     or those few minutes,                                                                                                                      you belonged only to me

It was I who cut your shirt away                                                                                                   To see your broken ribs                                                                                                            Watching you labour with each breath                                                                                        As you fought to live

It was I wholwiped the blood away                                                                                           When it pooled in your eyes                                                                                                            It was I who watched your heart beat                                                                                         As the jaws freed you from your car

And when we finally freed you                                                                                                            I was still there as we ran to the back of the ambulance

It was I who held your hand                                                                                                        The sounds of the sirens rang loudly in my ears                                                                            I looked for some small sign

Your lack of response renewed my fears

I breathed for you when you could not                                                                                            I compressed your chest when your heart wouldn’t beat

I prayed for you with each failure                                                                                                    I did not want to see defeat                                                                                                              I finally had to walk away                                                                                                      Knowing the battle had been lost

I saw your father in the hallway                                                                                                 One look and I saw the awful cost                                                                                                    I gathered my equipment together                                                                                            And I finally learned your name

Only 21, I said, beneath my breath

My friends, I feel so drained                                                                                                       Your blood alcohol came back zero                                                                                           The driver of the other car did not

He was alive and breathing                                                                                                            No witness to the battle we fought                                                                                                  I don’t know how to say good bye cause we never really said hello

But a piece of you is with me everywhere I go

This weekend has so far given me  a wide range of cases, some of which i see everyday, and others I would rather never see again. Motor vehicle accidents,  drunken drivers, a house fire and babies dying.

The house fire, starting in the garage and spreading, luckily not gutting the house.

Two cases that really affected me this weekend were the two 5 month old babies that died in front of me…

The first one was completely avoidable. Why? Because I again highlight the need for car seats. Mom and dad were driving home from having dinner with friends, with their 5 month old baby boy asleep on mom’s lap. A suspected drunk driver, we suspected, the cops suspected and so he was arrested under said suspicion, skipped a red robot and smashed into the driver’s side of the family.  Mom and dad were not injured due to their efficient use of seatbelts. This beautiful, innocent baby boy, who had a future of probably grand and awesome things, died after his head hit the dashboard after being flung out of mom’s arms due to the massive centrifugal forces involved in accidents.  How people think they can hold onto their children in an accident is beyond me. The forces involved are just too large.

Then we have the little 5 month old baby girl that drowned on formula. Or so we think. What we were told, is that she choked while drinking her bottle, and stopped breathing. With my hands encircled around this beautiful baby girl, compressing her chest, massaging her little heart with my thumbs, squeezing the bag supplying precious oxygen to her lungs, hoping beyond hope that her heart gives a kick, and starts again, watching all the crew working tirelessly to save her, i couldn’t help wondering what she would have grown up to be.  Would she be a teacher, a doctor, or nurse? Maybe a shop keeper, reporter or even a politician? We will never know… Her life slipped away, and she died, leaving a stricken and distraught mother and very sombre emergency crew…