10/01/2007: "Thank You EMTs"
To the Editor:
On Aug 19th we were enjoying our last day of a glorious weeks vacation on the beautiful island of San Juan. Sunday would be our leave day. It all was about to come to an unexpected end a day early.
My son who has had back problems for almost 8 years due to a sports injury, was bending over and his back went out. Of course he had to be in the "upstairs" bathroom when this happened. He couldn't move or get up and we did not want to move him for fear of making it worse.
My husband called 911 and by the time he hung up the phone, the first EMT arrived (about two minutes). We stood there stunned at the fast response. Within 5 minutes 3 or 4 more came, then the ambulance with three or 4 more EM Ts. It was amazing and we were wondering who could possibly be left on the island.
My son is a very large kid and they weren't quite sure how they were going to get him down. The small little board wasn't going to work. Plus the set of stairs that twisted around a corner were going to be a problem. They were even discussing having to take the banister off if necessary. These people were incredible. They took such great care and discussed each move before it was done to keep him as immobile as possible. They decided to bring up this collapsible wheelchair that had an attachment to keep his head from moving and were then able to get him to the stretcher.
They were always asking my son how he was doing and with enough pain meds to drop a cow, he finally seemed to be less contorted from pain. They (about 10 or 12 I lost track) got him into the ambulance. Now let me tell you about how wonderful and caring the driver was. I don't think he went over 20 miles an hour and he was careful over the slightest bump as to not jar my son.
Everyone at the small clinic were amazing and helpful and on top of that making sure my son was as comfortable as possible. I just cannot say or praise the whole group of people who helped with this enough. I'm from a big city and I can tell you this .. The first EMT would've been getting to our house at the same time my son was already being flown off the island.
I want to thank each of these people and I hope they know who they are that all of their efforts were greatly appreciated and their care probably saved my son from any further injury. Your city is very lucky to have such a stellar group of caregivers.
My son ended up having back surgery on August 27th where the doctor found a crushed disk with bone spurs that was sitting
on a nerve. So we are very thankful for the extra care that was given to him.
If I ever get seriously hurt, I hope it's in Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands because I know the EMTs there will give me their all.
Portland, Oregon 97233