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It felt great to be recognized as the child’s ‘paramedic’

As a medic who popped a girl’s knee back into place I never expected her to recognize me years later in the grocery store

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Here is the second place winner to our EMS Week 2015 essay contest. This year’s theme was EMS STRONG, and we asked you to share stories of when a pediatric patient made you feel like a superhero. Check out the other winners here.

By Michael Dumond

About 20 years ago, on a warm summer afternoon, we received a call for a young child with severe right leg pain. When we arrived, we were led to the living room where we found a 6-year-old girl, sitting on the floor, crying and holding her right knee. Mom and 3-year-old baby brother were near the girl crying with her.

The first thing I noticed was the girl’s right leg appeared to have a negative curve to it. The mom told us that the children were running around a coffee table, with the younger boy chasing his sister. After a few times around the table, the sister stopped and sat on the coffee table with her legs stretched out in front of her. Her brother caught up to her, turned around and sat on her legs, causing her right leg to pop out of joint and bend slightly backwards.

Being as gentle as we could be, we were in the process of splinting the extremity while keeping up a constant conversation with the girl, trying to calm her. While I was supporting her knee as my partner applied the splint, we suddenly heard a pop. The whole room went quiet. You could have heard the heartbeat of a house fly. The girl’s face had a look of wonderment on it. The mom’s face had a look of total surprise. I think my heart stopped for a few seconds. After five or 10 seconds, the little girl said, “it doesn’t hurt now mom.” We finished our splinting, picked the girl up and placed her on the stretcher and brought her to the ER. End of story.

Well, not quite. I had totally forgotten that run when, about two years later while in the checkout line at a grocery store, I noticed a young girl tugging on her mother’s clothing, trying to get her attention. The mother finally turned to the girl and said ‘what.’ This girl pulls her mother down to her level, and in a whisper that could be heard across the store said, “Mom, that’s my paramedic.”

That whole run immediately flashed back; the goose bumps made an immediate entrance and I got the warmest feeling I had ever felt. I had never been ‘someone’s paramedic’ before.

It’s been many, many years since then, but when someone asks me why I do what I do, this story immediately comes to mind. There is no greater feeling in the world than knowing that ‘you are someone’s paramedic’.