On March 11, 2012, Mary Richardson’s son Patrick, who had been sick for several days, took a sudden turn for the worse. Mary, a former nurse who lives in Northwest D.C., called the BCCRS emergency line (301.652.1000) because she
knew BCCRS would transport her son to Children’s National Medical Center. According to Mary, it was imperative that Patrick go there because his records were there as well as the specialized equipment he needed. “If we had gone anywhere else,” Mary says, “Patrick wouldn’t be here today.”
Volunteer EMTs Charlie Moyer and Sarah Miller arrived “in no time,” according to Mary. As soon as they saw Patrick, they knew it was what EMTs call a “load and go” situation. While additional resources would have been helpful, there was no time to wait on scene. Patrick’s pale skin, blue lips, and low blood-oxygen saturation made that clear. Charlie, Sarah, and a trainee carried Patrick to the ambulance and Charlie drove as fast as safely possible to Children’s. En route, Sarah and the trainee took vitals and administered oxygen; Sarah contacted Children’s Emergency Room to let them know Patrick’s condition and that they were on the way. Charlie, a BCCRS ambulance driver for over 35 years, knows every possible route to every hospital in the area as well as the usual traffic conditions for every day of the week and every time of the day. Because he volunteers six days a week, it’s a rare year when Charlie isn’t recognized by Montgomery County as running more calls than anyone else in the Montgomery County Fire Rescue system – paid or volunteer.
According to Mary, it was Charlie getting them to the hospital “so quickly I couldn’t believe it” and Sarah’s “calmness” in a dire situation that helped her stay composed. At Children’s, the hospital staff was waiting and immediately went to work. Patrick was on a ventilator for 12 days before he finally came back “better than ever,” according to Mary.
Last month, Mary and Patrick visited BCCRS headquarters in Bethesda to thank the crew “that saved Patrick’s life.” They reconnected with Sarah and left a message of thanks for Charlie. For Sarah, it was one of those calls that she’ll never forget. “He was so pale,” she said, “and I’m incredibly proud of our crew and how quickly and efficiently we worked together to get Patrick the definitive care he needed.” BCCRS is grateful that we could assist Mary and Patrick in their time of need. Best Wishes Patrick!
Editor’s Note: BCCRS strives to honor requests by patients to be taken to the hospital of their choice. However, there are some situations when this may not be possible. Hospitals sometimes close to ambulances when no beds are available in the emergency room. Also, if a patient’s situation is critical, medical protocols require transporting the patient to the closest appropriate hospital. In Patrick’s case, Children’s Hospital was the closest appropriate hospital.