Linda’s Story

Preface: I met Linda while I was teaching in Indy. It was immediately apparent she was the real deal. I later found she was a 30 year vet of one of the busy trucks in the city. Wow, I mean it… WOW! -Kip

From here emails to me:

First dispatch of our shift at 0642 we were dispatched to a ‘sick person’.  It was a cold January morning and the fire department was dispatched with us. They were closer to the address and they arrived there first.  As we arrived on the scene, they were walking a Pt. to meet us as we pulled up. They were holding onto her as she was not wanting to walk. I got out of the passenger seat and opened the side door.  My partner and I stepped into the ambulance to assist her getting in.  She was screaming, crying, breathing fast, then holding her breath and thrashing around. The Fire Department stated that her Sister had called 911 because she was lying in the front yard of her Sisters’ apartment building, screaming and crying.  The Sister was on the scene and said she did not know what was wrong with her. The Sister told us to take her to a certain hospital. The firefighters shut the door and returned to service, now we were the only personnel on the scene. There we were with this approx. 20 something year old female who weighed at least, twice as much as me and I’m 30 years older than her.

 My EMT partner, although very muscular, was a small guy and fairly new to EMS.  We attempted to talk to her and after no response from her, we finally got her to sit down on the cot while continuing her behavior. She would not answer any questions. We got the seat belts on but she managed to kick off the one on her legs.  We still have no idea what is going on with her. Pt. had not personal items with her.  After much difficulty my partner managed to get a BP which was fairly high. 

 We continued to talk to her but could not get a response. I told her I needed to stick her finger to check her blood sugar, she would not respond.   I had set the tech box on the seat to get the glucometer out, opened the glucometer case and touched her hand to get a finger to stick as I told her what I was doing. Pt. pulled it back. I again told her what I was doing and took her L hand. When I did that, she pulled her hand back hard and attempted to slug me with her R fist. I blocked the hit with my L arm and she tried to grab the tech box to throw at me. I got it away from her and threw it to the floor. She got her seatbelt off.  She then came at me with both arms out in front to grab me.

  I stood up and pushed her back onto the cot and began to hold her down on the cot.  What could we do? She, for some reason wanted to hurt me.  We don’t know what is wrong with her. She is our Pt. and we need to help her.  I can’t get to the doors to get out without her getting me first.  She was hitting us, kicking us, cussing at us, telling me she was going to beat the shit out of me.  We told her numerous times that we were there to help her. Every time I tried to let up, she came back at me.  She knocked my glasses off and the clip out of my hair.  My partner was trying to hold her bottom half down, I was trying to hold her top half down.  She was wild. 

 We were also trying to get dispatch on the radio to get the police but it seemed to take forever. They kept asking questions that we had to let go of the Pt. to use the radio.  While we continued to struggle with her, the cot was now in a lying down position, she managed to move herself up to where her head was getting wedged between the airway seat and the cot.  I’m holding her arms down.  She is my Pt. and is about to break her neck. I let go of her arms and reached down to pull her head out. After I got her head out, she reached up and grabbed both sides of my head, reaching thru my hair with her fingers and pulling handfuls of my hair out. I grabbed her hands and held them close to my head to keep her from pulling more out.

 My partner managed to get her handout of one side of my hair. I got the other one out.  About that time, the side door came open. It was one police officer who looked extremely surprised at to what he saw. By this time she had managed to get into the airway seat. The officer jumped in, left the side door open and with us still holding her,(we couldn’t leave him alone with her), he identified himself, she began to also cuss him out and fight with him.  The Pt. was warned several times that he was going to Tase her.  The behavior continued and he pulled out the Taser, we let go and started to back up slightly. Before he could Tase her, she pushed with her legs on the side wall and shoved me and the officer out the side door. I went flying out first, landing flat on my back, the officer next, on his back, and the Pt. landed on top of him.

She continued to fight with the officer. They got to their feet and he managed to Tase her a few times before she finally dropped.  My partner assisted the officer to cuff her. She then sat up and continued to cuss me out. Yelling my name as it was on my shirt , calling me nasty names and telling me she that she pulled my hair out and she was going to do it again after she got out of jail.  Other officers arrived on the scene and began to take things over.  I still thought of her as my Pt. even though I was furious with her.

I checked her sugar while she was cuffed and cussing me out.  I did not have to transport her because her vital signs were OK. I couldn’t believe this had just happened. Why did she want to hurt us? We were there because someone called us to help.  Why did everyone leave the scene so fast?  The ‘Sister” didn’t even end up being her ‘Sister’.  


My partner and I did get seen at employee health.  The pain of getting your hair pulled out by the handfuls is pretty bad. We were sore all over but none of the bruises were showing yet.  That was the next day.  We both went back to work after being seen.  My supervisor was very concerned and told us we could go home if we wanted.  For us, that was not an option. We could not be defeated or called a whiner.  The only comments I got from my peers was that the Pt. pulled my hair.

 Just a simple pull of the hair???  Really?  I wish that was all she did.  I was embarrassed.  This was life changing for me.   She was arrested.  She was only convicted of one count of battery against me and it was decreased to a misdemeanor.  They tried to get me to drop the charges. The charges against the others were dropped. I now know….she wasn’t my patient and there is NEVER a safe scene.


What was she doing here, specifically, behavior wise? What was your gut saying to you?
“We attempted to talk to her and after no response from her, we finally got her to sit down on the cot while continuing her behavior. She would not answer any questions. We got the seat belts on but she managed to kick off the one on her legs.”
What was your perception at the time?
She was screaming, throwing her arms around, crying without tears, like a temper tantrum. I thought it was like a person throwing a fit.  I didn’t feel like I could come to that conclusion until I ruled everything else out.
Did you keep any pictures of your injuries?

When people acted like it was no big deal, how did that make you feel?
How much of what we cover in EVE would you say is relevant to your exact situation?
For instance:
Human Animal-Intuition
Patient not a patient
RACE ( how fast your brain was moving)
Care v. control/custody
Culture of acceptance by police, peers, admin etc
Do you think you can make people “feel” what you felt by telling your story?
As I read your story, I can see all of the above within your narrative. Mainly because I experienced it myself. These are the way you will get the pups to listen. Because they will “feel” what you felt.
I don’t think I kept any pictures. I only took one probably of a bruise on my thigh. I had pictures of handfuls of hair but I think I deleted them cause I couldn’t stand to look at them.  
I just felt embarrassed mostly. Like I couldn’t handle myself. Some of them I wanted to slap in the face when they said I got my hair pulled.  It was like no big deal to them. I felt like she was gonna kill me if she could. It was like Jerry Springer. She ripped loads of my hair out!  I was so angry. I showed up to help her and she attacked me. 
There is alot in the EVE class that I have already related to the class.  I usually tell my story in the intro at some point and kinda bring up points about it during the rest of the class.  About how I could have done things differently.   
SHE WAS NOT MY PATIENT! ( I know that now)
RACE – Yes,  my brain just kept resetting. Too many distractions and I had not idea what to do. I got on the radio to call for help and they kept asking stupid questions. Every time I took my hand off of her to talk on the radio, she would get on me worse. It seemed to take forever to get the police there. I don’t know for sure how long it did take. It was at a bad time of the day. shift change for everyone. 
 I don’t think I was trying to hold her in custody and I was not doing any care obviously. I was trying to keep her from killing me by holding her down. I didn’t have time to let go of her and get to the door to open it to get out. She would have had me before I could do it. The door got closed after she got in cause it was cold outside. Fire closed it and left. I should have asked them to stay for a few but they didn’t ask and I didn’t ask. They just left. 
I have to say that everyone was concerned for us after it was over. Some of the officers I have known for along time so they wanted to make sure I was OK. My supervisor was really good. Of course, I acted like I was good. I couldn’t let anyone know that it bothered me.  We went to occ health and then back to work.  Most of my co workers didn’t even know it happened. 
Since I’ve been telling the story, I think I have gotten people to feel it. MY co instructors have told me they think it is good how I tell it. I keep their attention.  I have had several co workers tell me that they are sorry this happened to me and that they didn’t know about it when it happened. 
I know all of the things that you listed are in the story.  I see all of them.  I wish I had the training before the attack.  I normally don’t let people get in the ambulance until I know what is going on.It was cold outside. I didn’t know the fire dept was going to shut the door and leave so soon. It all happened so fast. Then we were stuck ! I KNOW if I would have let go of her to try to get out, I would have been toast.