Pulling up to the scene, Jack gave us a clue what we had. “Uh guys, get the Jaws, grab some tarps, and a Halligan bar. This is gonna be a quick and dirty rescue. Mark, you get the trashline ready. I think this thing will light up before we are done. Make sure you are good to go, ok? Let’s go ladies!” He jumped out of the cab and approached the first vehicle. As he looked in, you could see the concern on his face. He frantically started looking around the car, looking about 15 feet away in a circle around it. As I got to the car, I realized what he saw, that freaked him out: an empty kid’s car seat with blood on it, and no kid anywhere in sight. Fran arrived in his vehicle, saw us looking around, and quickly realized what was going on. Mark was still setting up the trashline, so he had no clue so far. I dropped to the ground and checked the last place we hadn’t looked – under the car.
Sure enough, there was a small body there under it, but it wasn’t moving. “FRAN! It’s here, under the driver’s rear door! Get me an airbag and some fucking cribbing please?” I tried to grab the child and pull them too me, but they were just too far to reach. I sat up, and ripped off my bunker coat, not caring about the fluids and glass on the ground. I had to reach this kid. Mark saw we were working to get the kid, so he went to the other car. This was the one who was gonna need the Jaws, and the Halligan bar to pop the hood to get to the battery. He popped the hood, and disconnected the wires to the battery. Then he went over and rechecked on the driver. He was still in a daze, but answering the questions Mark was asking him. Mark grabbed a guy from the next engine that pulled up and had him man the trashline. Mark looked to Fran for a quick visual approval to use the Jaws, and went about opening the roof and door to get the driver out. Jack and Fran had gotten the cribbing placed under the rear tires, so when we lifted the car up, they would use the blocks of wood to make sure it didn’t fall on me or the kid. We quickly used an airbag to lift the car gently, and As Jack raised it, Fran stacked the wood to crib the car. I finally got enough room to reach the kid, and ever so gently picked them up and handed them to the waiting medic, who had arrived with all the supplies for a pediatric trauma. He carefully laid the child down, and checked for a pulse. There was one, but it was very weak. The little boy couldn’t have been more than 5, and looked like he had at least a broken arm and leg. But we didn’t care about them yet; we were more concerned with getting the helicopter there to rush him to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – CHOP to all of us who were familiar with it. The bird gave us a two minute ETA, and we got him ready for the flight.
His pulse had started to get stronger, and his color was returning. We gently splinted his arm, and used another SAM splint on his leg. He was so small and frail. All I was concerned about was getting him onto the helicopter. We gave the Flight Medic a quick report, the rough estimate of how long he was under the car (we were thinking close to 18 minutes), and his conditions. His vitals were transferred to his sheet along with the times we took them. The medic gave us a big thanks after securing the little guy to the litter, and gave us thumbs up. He climbed back into the bird and it took off, heading for the best care the kid could receive.
After the MedEvac was airborne, my attention returned to the scene. Mark had most of the roof off of the other car, and the door was already gone. I helped him lift the roof as he made his last cuts to remove it. We got the solid backboard and placed it behind the patient as we lifted them carefully out of the now opened up car. We made sure the neck brace was on properly, and that he was immobilized per protocols. We secured him to the litter and loaded him into the waiting ambulance. He was in a good amount of pain, and said it was his back and his head, but we also noticed he couldn’t feel his legs very well. That would explain the back pain then. We gave the report to his medic, and went back to start cleaning up our equipment. I looked up and saw Fran trying to be subtle and look around at the people who were watching without looking too obvious. I walked over to him, quietly asking “What are you looking for Dep?” He looked down at me, and tried to make it look like he was talking about our equipment. “You see that blond woman over there next to the blue Saturn? She doesn’t look like she is just watching. She looks like she was in the car the kid was pinned under. And did you notice that there is no driver for that car here? PD is still looking for the driver.” I did my cursory glance around like I was still talking to him about what had happened. He was right, as usual; she did look very out of place. She was very pale, eyes were wider than everyone else’s who was near her, and kept looking quickly at the police who were still on the site.
“Hey Stevens, you got a minute?” I waved over the only cop I knew on the scene. I pointed to some debris as I talked to him, trying to give the illusion that I wasn’t concerned with anything but the accident. “See the blond next to the Saturn over there? She might be your missing driver, Fran and I both agree she looks incredibly out of place in the crowd. What do you think? Is there any way to go talk to her by having someone come up behind her so she doesn’t run away?” Stevens glanced quickly at her, and radioed to another cop. They gave him the word when they were behind her, and Stevens started to walk in the direction of the Saturn. She saw him coming and panicked, turning and running into the chest of the cop behind her. They spread out the crowd a little, and brought her on the other side of the caution tape so they could talk to her. She had a lot of blood on her shirt, along with what looked like cuts from the glass shattering on her. I walked away with a smile on my face, and gave a knowing wink to Fran. We got the right person this time.