Pedestrian Accident

I happened into an interesting experience on Thursday night, one that keeps playing over and over in my mind. After work, I stopped by CMU’s pool to help some of our kayakers learn rolls and rescues. As has been customary, a few of us headed to Fuel and Fuddle afterwards for half price dinners.

It was the usual 11pm scene on the Oakland Ave sidewalk, with a crowd of twenty or so twenty-somethings waiting for tables. My friends and I passed a half hour with idle chatter, nodding to friends passing by and cracking jokes.


Every head turned towards Forbes, just in time to see the little red sports car pull off to the side as a young looking male pedestrian stumbled towards the curb. The crowd became a sea of motion, all flowing towards the accident. Half walking, half running, I fingered the CPR mask hanging from my key-chain as Lou urged me onward.

The kid stumbled to the curb, then slowly sank to his knees and began sobbing. I knelt down, asked him if I could help, and took his head in my hands. He was conscious, but not quite normal. He was breathing, had a pulse. I tried to calm him down as I held his head and neck stable. Some other fellow knelt down and tried to move the kid’s head, and I snapped at him. “What are you doing?” I demanded as the fellow waved his fingers in front of the kid’s face. “I’m a fireman,” he responded. Right. This kid isn’t on fire.

“Don’t move his head,” I snapped.

All around me I heard people on the line with EMS. The paramedics would be there in minutes, but oh those were some minutes of chaos. A woman ran up, screaming, “I am totally sober and had a green light!” She was the driver. The crowd quieted her as the kid sobbed in my hands. “I’m so sorry….I’m sorry….I ran out in front of the car…..I’m soo sorry…” He spat some pinkish saliva on the curb.

Never have I felt so utterly helpless. I am sure that I did the right things….the only things I could do at the time…..but I knew more and could have done more! Just give me a collar and a spine board….something!

As the EMTs arrived and took over, I fell back and joined the crowd of onlookers. They quickly boarded him and drove him to Presby. As the ambulance left, I left my information with the police….but they haven’t contacted me. I don’t expect that they will. Nor will I ever know what happened to that kid….if he was fine, or bled out internally before bright lights and cold steel could intervene.

A tall beer at Fuel calmed my shaking hands. Now, four days later, I am comfortable that there wasn’t anything more I could do, but I have more passion for emergency medicine than I had in the past.

I picked up an application for Paramedic school today.


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