Copyright 2014, Jules A. Staats; Library of Congress, USA.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This work may be previewed only.

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It keeps happening!  What are the Chances?

          Jay had now been retired from L.A. Sheriff for over thirteen years.  He had moved to Syracuse New York to be with his wife’s family.  His oldest daughter of 17 was still living at his home.  Also gathered in the living room was Jay’s Niece, Samantha.  Nightfall had created a chill in the fall air and the street had a substantial cover of fallen leaves.  Since there were no interesting T.V. programs to watch, he was sitting in his favorite chair by the front picture window as he surveyed the street.  There were few cars on the quiet street and nothing of interest.  Jay succumbed to the boredom and started to nod off.

          Fast-moving headlights on the street suddenly ripped him out of his slumber as he observed the speeding lone vehicle.  The street curved gently in front of their house but this car was going way too fast for the slippery conditions due to the layer of wet dead leaves on the roadway.

          As he expected, he saw the vehicle slide, turning to the left.  The shallow drainage ditch in front of the house was usually not a hazard, but the excessive speed of impact with the ditch caused major damage to the front of the 12 year old pickup.  This was a while ago in the past and no airbags were in the truck, only lap type seatbelts which the two occupants had unfortunately failed to use.  The crash ruptured the radiator and white steam rushed into the cold dry air strangely illuminated by a nearby streetlight.

          Jay immediately sped through his front door and down the driveway, his former Law Enforcement training and experience and definitely something else were driving him once again to quickly determine if there were any injuries.  To his surprise the driver had left the vehicle and hobbled down the street.  She had injured one knee but was trying to get to her home about 200 feet away, hoping that police would not find that she had been drinking heavily and crashed her vehicle.

          That abandonment left the passenger alone in the front seat and he had previously been propelled violently forward.  As a result of the crash, he had struck the dash of the vehicle with his throat.  He was sitting upright gasping and had both hands on his neck.  Jay found his own hand feeling the front of the throat of the victim, as if he had been instructed by someone behind him.  The injured passenger of the truck could not breathe due to a crushed trachea when his unrestrained body and throat violently struck the dashboard at the instant of the crash. 

          Jay’s first aid training did not cover this type of an injury, but somehow, he had in his mind exactly what to do for this dying patient.  There was no oropharyngeal airway device that could be inserted and that device would not work in this circumstance anyway.  Jay found the blocked airway in the victim’s throat and squeezed.  It was in the exactly correct place and he was able to pinch the airway open.  The victim started to pant, and then his breathing leveled off finally relaxing to normal rhythm.  Jay told him to not move until medical help arrived as he continued to hold the victim’s airway open.

          Jay’s Niece was now standing in the driveway.  Jay called out; “Call the Fire Department!”  His Niece replied; “Call 911?”  There was no 911 center in the Syracuse area at that time.  “No, just call the operator and ask for the Fire Department.” 

          The volunteer fire crews showed up about 7 minutes later which was a very good response time for such a department.  The faster arrival was due to an in-progress personnel meeting at the fire station which resulted in the volunteers not having to first drive to the Fire Station before the truck could respond.  Another amazing coincidence.

          Jay also was sadly aware that the personnel of this particular fire station had a reputation of having a severe attitude problem.  A year prior, he had looked into applying for a Fire Police position.  Fire Police were members of the volunteer fire department who direct traffic where they are working a situation.  When the Captain of the volunteer Fire Department found he was retired Law Enforcement he was told to just forget about working for them.  Jay suspected there were probably reasons they did not want an ex-cop in their midst.  As time passed he found that the members of this Fire Station were very much into themselves and in a word--arrogant. 

          A man in firefighter gear approached and stated that he was a trained Paramedic.  Jay was glad to see this man as his hand was getting somewhat cramped from steadily pressing open the victim’s airway.  He then advised the fireman that the victim could not breathe due to a crushed Trachea.

          The fireman who had just stated he was a Paramedic scoffed, and stated; “What do you know about this pal?, Just leave my patient alone and get (blank) out of here!”  Jay then knew full well what he was dealing with, so he stated that he was a retired Deputy Sheriff and he was keeping the airway open.

          “Sure you are…..I don’t believe you;” The loud mouth and arrogant fireman stated.

          Not wanting to do such a thing but to prove a point on the severity of the victim’s injury, he released his hand from the victim’s throat.  Immediately the victim reacted  by gasping for air when his airway was allowed to close.  Jay once again pinched the throat in the exact proper place, again opening the victim’s airway.  “Now do you believe me?”  Jay stated very loudly which could be heard by everyone present; “or are you going to just kill this man by not doing the proper first aid?”

          He then instructed the fireman in what had previously worked in keeping the airway open.  The eventual treatment of this victim’s injury would be determined by the trauma center at the hospital.

           Jay walked back to the house just as the Sheriff’s Department arrived.  After an exchange of information about the whereabouts of the hit and run driver. The female suspect was subsequently found at home by the deputies, and then arrested for drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.

          He later pondered many times later, that if an accident was to occur with these specific life threating injuries that it had to happen right in front of his house?  Also, he knew how to save this life, even though he had never seen nor treated a person with this specific trauma.  What were the chances that all these factors come together at the exact right time?

          It was the story of his career, always there on the spot when the emergency went down. Another fantastic coincidence that he once again was being in the absolutely wrong place at the right time.

          No, he just marveled once again, how God was always in control and he had so many people stationed in the world when a tragedy occurred, He had persons available where they could react and save lives.

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