Tag Archives: ETOH


Code 3 for fall/ETOH/back pain. It’s 4am and this Saturday night is just not getting any shorter.

I can hear the wailing as I climb up the stairs to the run-down apartment complex. This is going to be a bunch of bullshit.

Dirty apartment. Several children. No one sleeping.

“Hello, ma’am.”

“I fell and my back hurts.”

“I smell a lot of alcohol. Did you have a good night?”

Just trying to break the ice. Even at 4am. Your friendly neighborhood paramedic.

“I had a great night. Not that great after I got home.”

So she fell against a bookcase against the wall from a standing position. Fall is a really strong word for this from what they’re describing; more like backed into the bookcase. I inspect the undamaged bookcase. I look at her back. There is a little red mark on her back. She says her back hurts all over. Including the spine. Great. Huge emergency as usual.

“What hospital you want to go to?”

“I don’t want to go.”

“What? So why are we here then?”

At this moment it’s still a sincere and reasonable question.

“I called you guys,” her son speaks up.

“What for?”

Still sincere.

“I was scared. So I called 911 like I’m supposed to.”

Not sure where he got this fine piece of advice.

“Not necessarily. So what can we do for you then?”

Now it’s rhetorical.

“I thought you were going to help her.”

Help her with what exactly?

“We are. You call us, we take her to the hospital. That’s how it works.”

Like I’m going cut refusal paperwork on a drunk moron who fell down and has spine pain.

“OK,” the woman agrees to the transport surprisingly quickly. Thank god.

“I’m glad you’ve agreed, ma’am. Thank you.”

Much easier this way.

She is strapped to the longboard. This immobilization shit cannot go away soon enough. Fucking administrators and desk jockeys have no spine. (Oh hey, that’s a pun.)

“You’re an asshole,” the son bravely states, probably with some liquid courage.

“What’s that?”

Of course I heard him the first time.

“I’m sorry, but you’re an asshole.”

I love how people are just brave enough to insult us but not brave enough to leave out the qualifier.

Now 6 of us are no longer looking at the patient and are slowly closing in on him in this small apartment. The rest of his relatives and/or friends watch silently. Wise move, unlike numbnuts here.

“You don’t get to call us names. Especially at 4 in the morning. What makes me an asshole?”

He’s beginning to realize his mistake as our shadows grow on him.

“I, I don’t mean all of you. Just him. When he, uh, asked why we called.”

Still closing in on him.

“She didn’t want to go to the hospital. You wanted her to go. I talked her into going. She’s going now. Isn’t that what you wanted?”

“You didn’t have to be a dick,” he weakly insists.

“Alright dude, you got the result you wanted. Think about that.”

I stop advancing and remember that I just want this call over as soon as possible so we can all go back to sleep. We all stand down.

Since I’m such an asshole, we carry her down the stairs on the longboard. More unnecessary strain on our backs. The female EMT mumbles under her breath on the way down, “I guess we’re not taking any riders.”

We load the patient in the ambulance.

“Can I go with her?”

Wow, this guy is really an idiot.


“Called it,” says the female EMT with a big grin.

You again

Code 3 for chest pain. It’s the same general area where Tony calls from twice a day, and we know it’s him. We drive Code 2.

As usual he has managed to rope some poor schmuck walking by into calling 911 for him. Rumor is once upon a time he’d call 911 from his own phone and disappear, over and over again. One day after going out on him for the 8th or 9th time, someone finally tracked his ass down, and then his phone, um, stopped working. To this day I have no idea if this is true or just a good story that gets passed around at the hospital.

We have already transported him twice today. I love making it very clear to the callers that we pick Tony up every day without pointing any fingers. Just to entertain ourselves. The callers always apologize anyway, but I don’t want them to because they don’t know and it’s not their fault.

I don’t really care that frequent flyers call all the time, but Tony is an absolute dickhead drunk, never polite, always verbally abusive. I learned this from the very first time we met. How stupid I feel now for being a little too nice to him that first time. Plenty of regulars over the years have managed to be nice, and I’m nice back. They are people too. But Tony, every single time, he insults crews, the crews’ mothers, says disgusting things to female responders. Not to mention he’s going to the ED twice a day for no reason and being a complete pig to the ED staff too before they kick him out. He can kiss my ass.

I step out and hold my arms out like I have a rhetorical question. I then ask a rhetorical question.

“Tony! Didn’t we just take you to the hospital?”

“You again?” He actually says to me. I have never heard this before from any regular. The fucking nerve of him.

“No, no, no, no, no. YOU do not get to say that to me, asshole. Get in the rig.”

Touché, sir. Touché.

Code 3 for female unconscious in a cab.

“M17, RP is reporting that he does not want to wake the subject up.”

“Well, why the hell not?”

So a young woman is drunk and asleep in the back of the cab in front of her residence. We wake her up and send her inside with her family.

“So why didn’t you just wake her up?”

“I don’t want her to say tomorrow that I touched her.”

I got nothing.

No one can argue with that.

Part of the job

Code 3 for intoxicated subject.

The cops have a very dirty young man sitting on the curb, handcuffed. He is drunk, and he is being a total asshat. He keeps asking why he is being detained. For a moment, he looked homeless.

“This guy was sitting in front of a stranger’s apartment, completely naked, covered in shit. We somehow got him to put his clothes back on.”

Two of the 3 cops are not wearing gloves.

You guys actually touched him? My god.”

He is probably not homeless. He looks like just another college student who didn’t know when to stop. It’s just that the poo caked all over his feet and hands are kind of dried up in the way we only see in homeless people and neglected old people.

It is so gross that we actually bag his hands and feet.

“I’m sorry,” I offer my partner.

“It’s part of the job,” he maturely replies.

Then it hit me. IT IS SO NOT PART OF THE JOB! And it absolutely does not have to be. How is it that people’s unbelievably bad behavior is just par for the course? When did it become just another day when some asshole spits blood in our direction? Why have I not ever ended up pressing charges against combative drugged-up scumbags we are forced to fight when they get squirrely?

Everyone with history of seizures needs ambulance and ED

Code 2 for ETOH. At the downtown mental health clinic.

A woman in her 30s is sitting in a room, crying. She’s on a psych hold.

Apparently she drove drunk to the clinic for a regular appointment after having a bunch of alcohol. So the psych staff placed on her a psych hold. Which doesn’t make any sense. Apparently cops aren’t the only ones who don’t understand what a psych hold is.

“Shouldn’t you be calling the cops out here for the DUI instead?”*

“She has a history of seizures, so we called 911 for an ambulance.”

Mishearing her, I ask, “You put her on a psych hold because she has a history of seizures?”

“No, we called 911 because of her history of seizures.”

“Well, neither one of those makes any sense.”

*Not that I believe any cop is going to write her a ticket

Explaining Public Safety to Civilians #8: The drunk

“Four times this week I’ve had him!”

Chocolate waterfall

Code 3 for man down.

As usual, the location is incorrect because people are idiots.

We find the guy, on a different street. He is prone on the sidewalk in a parking lot. The entire back of his pants are wet, from belt to cuffs. He is very nice.

“What are you doing?”

“I had an accident. I shit all over myself. I drank too much.”

“Can you stand?”

“Yeah, but I don’t really want to. I’m waiting to dry off*.”

“Sure, sure. But I have to make sure you can walk before we leave you here. Plus, if you stay on the ground like this, people are just going to call again.”

“OK, OK.”

He pushes off the ground like he’s doing a push-up followed by a plank, and stays there. I should have just stopped him right there. I mean, he’s obviously not that unreliably drunk if he can actually hold his position like that.

He gets to his feet and straightens his legs. What looks like chocolate milk POURS down the inside of his pant legs and down into his shoes and onto the ground.

It may be the grossest thing I have seen in a while.

*There was so much it probably would have taken a month for all that stuff to dry out.