He lies there on the ambulance trolley, waxy skin, pale, tachycardic. His pulse rate way above normal, a sure sign of blood loss. I don't need his tachycardia to tell me that: the pools of blood on the floor of the ambulance is sign enough. I sit next to the trolley, my hand pressed firmly against the pad applied to his mangled limb, but it seems to do little to stem the flow of blood.
His eyes roll up, and Para-Girl calls to him. His eyelids flutter, and he is with us once again. But for how much longer? His skin is drenched in sweat, and yet his body feels alabaster-cold. We are losing him, and we know it. I tinker with the intravenous fluid, but know that what he needs is blood. I have already called ahead to the hospital to tell them to have some ready for when we get there, but will he last the journey?
As we come off the motorway, and slow to a crawl behind the selfish drivers, who want their lane and will not even relinquish it for us, I want to jump out of the ambulance, run up to the drivers and thrust my blood-stained hands against their windows. But I sit there, pressing harder, while Para-Girl, almost as pale as our patient, mouths something unintelligible to me. I know what she is saying, that we are not going to make it.
G-Man, our driver tonight, hunts down the spaces like a heat-seeking missile, and we are moving once again. As we approach the last few minutes I grasp our patient's wrist, feeling in vain for a pulse. He is hanging on by a thread, as we storm up the ambulance ramp, to the waiting Trauma Team, to bags of blood, and to a life snatched from the jaws of death.
11 months ago