A retread from the book while I deal with a mild case of blogger’s block. Enjoy…
It would be so easy. Just start the line, and forget to flush the air out of the tubing. They’ll look at it like a terrible accident. A tragic mistake. Such an easy one to make in the heat of the moment. So why don’t you do it, Mr. Gutless? Just bolus the critter with a tubing full of air and put him out of everyone’s misery. At most you’ll get sued, and Podunk Ambulance Service’s liability insurance will cover it. You’ll get counseled and remediated, at most. A slap on the wrist. Which is all this subhuman piece of useless protoplasm is going to get for killing three people…
“Hey, I need a cigarette!” the drunk slurs.
“No smoking in the back of my ambulance, sir. There is oxygen back here.”
Which you are currently wasting, you hopeless excuse for a human being. Your only worthwhile contribution to this planet is providing green plants with a CO2 source.
“Fuck you, sumbitch!” the drunk yells. “I need a cigarette NOW!” He reaches into his shirt pocket and extracts a pack of Marlboros.
“No smoking back here, sir,” I say again firmly, grabbing his hand. He doesn’t want to let go at first, but I deftly twist the pack from his grip.
“Hey Goddamnit, that hurt!” the drunk protests indignantly. “You like to broke my fucking wrist!”
Like that, big boy? Thank the Pardner for teaching me that little trick. If you hadn’t let go, I’d have had you squealing like a little bitch. Pity you gave up before I had the chance.
“I oughta kick your ass,” the drunk threatens, reaching for the strap that secures his torso to the spine board.
“Why would you want to do that?” I ask mildly, pulling his hands away from the buckle. “I’m just trying to help you.”
And what I want to do is let you unlatch that buckle and swing at me. It would be the perfect excuse to kick your ass. I’ll beat you to death, and claim self defense. No jury in the world would convict me.
“Sorry little cocksucker,” the drunk says spitefully. “I got rights. You can’t take me nowhere I don’t wanna go. I got rights!”
You don’t have the right to drink and drive. You don’t have the right to drive with a suspended license. And you don’t have the right to kill a mother and her two kids. They had the right to make it home from the grocery store alive. You violated that right. You need to die.
“Sir, I’m going to start an IV on you. You may be severely injured, and I may need a way to administer medication or fluids.”
Or air. Just don’t flush the line. One big air embolus, and he’ll never drive again. He’ll never wipe out another family. If he lives, he’ll just be some turnip in a nursing home that someone has to turn every few hours. No, better to kill him. No sense in making him a burden to his family.
“Fuck you, sumbitch!” he yells, snatching his arm away. “You got no right to touch me! I pay your fuckin‘ salary!”
No asshole, I’m paying for your medical care. You were driving with a suspended license, drunk, with expired tags. This isn’t your first DUI. You have no insurance. My tax dollars are going to be paying for your medical care, three square meals a day and a warm bed, and your fucking cable television. You might say I’m paying your salary. But not today. Not this time. This time, I’m going to save the taxpayers the bill. You will die tragically on the way to the hospital.
“Sir, I’m going to restrain you for your safety and mine,” I inform him as I tie his wrists to the board with cravats. I spike a bag and hang it from the ceiling hook, and start a 14-gauge IV in his left arm. I am not gentle. I hook up the line and open the roller clamp.
Enjoy your last bit of consciousness, asshole. Hell awaits…
Five minutes later, we’re rolling into the ER at Podunk General Hospital. My patient is still breathing, still threatening, still drunk.
I give the doctor a terse handoff report. “35-year-old male, head-on impact at high speed. He was driving a full size pickup; the people in the compact car are dead. Vitals are all stable and within normal limits. No idea if he lost consciousness at any point. Aside from the split lip and airbag rash, I can’t find anything wrong with him. Other than being drunk and belligerent, that is.”
The doctor says nothing, just frowns and waves us into a trauma room. This is simply another chorus in a song we’ve heard too many times. The singers may change, but the tune never does.
Outside, Female Pardner asks me, “How do you keep your temper with belligerent drunks like that? I mean, he killed three innocent people. I heard him threatening you and yelling, but you just stayed calm. How do you do it?”
I look her squarely in the eye. “It’s not personal. I’m a professional caregiver. It doesn’t bother me.”
“You never think about dealing out your own justice to guys like that? Not even a little?” she asks dubiously.
“No, I never think about it.” I turn my head away and stare at my reflection in the window as we drive home.