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Home > Topics > Weird EMS News
October 30, 2012
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Behind the Patient: Street Portraits
by Michael Morse

One medic's creep-filled day of cursed calls

From vampires to voodoo priests, here are some spooky calls we hope you never have to handle

By Michael Morse

It’s noon, and hour 19 of a 38-hour day. My partner Adam and I are riding back to the station after responding to 16 calls so far – and we’re both a little jumpy.

"The sun is hurting my eyes."
"That's because you lost your sunglasses."
"I think something far more sinister is going on."

Our day started at 5:23 a.m. and got weirder as it went on.

Vampire attack avoided

In the pre-dawn hours, Adam and I are dispatched to a tenement house in South Providence for a suicidal, pregnant 20-year-old with arm lacerations.

I stand on the third-floor landing as Oliver, one of the firefighters sent along with us ‘just in case,’ talks to the woman and her boyfriend.

I can't get up the stairs asthe guys from Engine 10 and two e police officers clog the narrow, dimly lit stairway, but I'm quite happy to stand at the end of the line and listen.

"Did you try to hurt yourself?" Oliver asks.r.
"She cut her wrist with a broken crack pipe," a male voice from above declares.
"Were you smoking crack?"
"Not us, she's pregnant," says the voice.

We all move down the stairs, and I lead the march into the street and toward the rescue. The pretty, pale woman with cuts on her arm joins me in the rig.

"I'm all set," I say to the cops and firefighters asAdam gets in front to drive. My patient's cuts are superficial, scratches really. She stares intently at me as I begin my report.

"What happened?” I ask.

"He was going to hurt me," she states in a regal voice, redolent of centuries past, "He planned to cut me and drink my blood."

I look over the edge of the paper and see her eyes focused intently on mine, not blinking, not moving ─ as if I'm prey.

"Why did he want to do that?" I ask.

"I stopped him by cutting myself," she replies, ignoring my question.

She’s still staring. I'm a little unnerved.

Her skin is translucent, even paler in the dim light of the rescue. Her bloodshot eyes bore through me. I can't wait to get to the hospital.

When we arrive, I quickly stand and help my patient out the door. She clutches my arm with her wounded one, and some blood is transferred.

"Thank you, you've been very kind," she says.

I wouldn't say she's smiling, but her face shows amusement, as if we're in on something together. As I leave, I look over my shoulder. She is still staring.

A possible possession

At 7:30 a.m., we’redispatched to a methadone clinic for a man who can't walk.

As we arrive, I roll down my sleeves and squint into the glare. It’s warm, and the sun hurts my eyes.

A troll-like man stands at the bottom of the hill at the entrance to the clinic. He watches us as we pass.

I walk inside the clinic and ask who called 911, but nobody answers.

Suddenly, the man runs up the hill, stands in front of us, and tells me he can't walk.

"You just ran up the hill," I say, confused.
"I can't get on the bus," He says.
"But you can run up a hill?"

This sets him off. He goes bananas and , starts taking off his clothes to show me his MRSA scars and his deformities.He tells me he is HIV-positive with hepatitis C.

"I need to go to the hospital," he says.

"Get in."

I can't understand a word he is saying as he rants and raves during the mile drive. His language is foreign, possibly Latin. I swear his head turns 360 degrees when I look away.

Like the woman, he stares at me after we drop him off, and the creepy feeling  stays with me all the way back to the station. I enter my office, turn out the light and close the shades. The sun still hurts. I can't wait until nighttime.

Son of Satan

At 2:36 p.m., we’re called to a high-rise for a man with chest pains.

Adam gets in the truck and starts it. I say something; he jumps, startled, and says he didn't see me sitting there.

Interesting. My mind wanders to that first strange call of the day. I'll have to find a mirror and see if I still have a reflection.

We arrive at the scene and find a 72-year-old Haitian man with a dried chicken claw loosely tied around his neck with a rawhide cord.

It seems obvious.

"Are you a voodoo priest?" I ask.

"Yes," he replies. "And, I'm the son of Satan."

He also has hepatitis C and HIV.

As the call progresses, I find the son of Satan to be quite pleasant. He's having chest pain with ST elevations and is deathly afraid of needles, but tells me I have a gift as I sink one into his arm. The blood is rich and red as it drips from his arm.

"It is fascinating, this blood," I think to myself as I finish up the IV. I give him some aspirin and nitro and ride to the hospital. He shakes my hand and stares deep into my eyes as I'm about to leave.

I have a difficult time looking away.

If a Catholic priest calls 911 tonight, I'll start to worry.

Darkness descends. I'm back in my office, lights out, waiting for to the darkness to descend. It's the final warm Friday night of the season, and should be a bloodbath.

Part of me hopes so.

About the author

Michael Morse is a rescue captain with the Providence Fire Department and the author of Rescuing Providence and Responding. He has worked on engine, ladder and rescue companies during his 21-year career. His current assignment is Rescue Company 5. Michael blogs at RescuingProvidence.com.
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