Chapter 16…

They rounded the corner and could see the patrol cars flanking a crowd of bystanders. Ana quickly scanned the crowd and felt her stomach settle when she did not see what she was looking for. She could hear the sirens in the distance from the fire truck en route to their location as she slid down out of the ambulance and Noah gave their on-scene mileage to Adam.

            Ana carried the jump bag over her shoulder and surveyed the surroundings for anything that might give a clue to the patient’s condition. She had to stifle a gasp when she saw the young girl with the honey-colored hair lying on the pavement, beaten and bloodied.

            Noah reached her as she knelt near the girl. “What do you need, Ana?”

            “She’s posturing,” Ana said pointing to the way the girl’s arms were drawn in to her body. “She’s got a serious head injury.” This was also evidenced by the bruising surrounding both eyes and the black and blue discoloration of her right jaw. “Her breathing is too shallow. Go ahead and start bagging her while I see what else is going on. Fire department will be here in a minute and they’ll get the backboard.”

            Noah pulled the bag-mask device and oxygen tank out of the bag Ana had dropped at her side. He moved to the top of the patient’s head and cringed when he attempted to open her mouth. “Hey, Ana. Her jaw must be dislocated or broken.”

“Tell me what to do to help you,” Ian said.

Ana reached up and cradled her face with both gloved hands, feeling for movement in the bones. “I think it’s probably broken. Get an oral airway in and try to hold it as best you can while you ventilate her. Watch for any blood or fluid in her airway and suction if you find any.” A campaign hat hit the ground next to the patient and Ana caught the flash of a blonde buzz cut out of the corner of her eye.

Ian Hanover worked the opposite shift from Cam at the sheriff’s department. Ana quickly grabbed a pair of gloves out of the bag and passed them to him. He pulled them on and held his hands out for her to position. She took his hands and placed them around the patient’s jaws. “Just try to hold her mouth still and keep the bones from moving while Noah ventilates her.” He grimaced and gritted his teeth, but held exactly as she had shown him. Ana breathed a little easier as she watched the chest rise equally.

So far, she had found a slow but strong pulse rate (indicating that the pressure in the girl’s head was increasing), crepitus in her ribs on the right side where they were broken, and multiple bruises across her abdomen. She realized the fire truck had arrived and stopped her assessment long enough to look up and yell to them, “Grab the stretcher, backboard, collar, and blocks!” The two men who had started toward her did an abrupt about-face and ran for the back of the ambulance.

She continued working her way down the patient’s body, cutting her clothes as she went. She found more abrasions and bruises over the girl’s torso and legs, and froze when she reached her feet.

“Huh?” Ana murmured and realized someone was shaking her.

“Ana! Are you OK?” It was Tyler and he was gripping her shoulders with both hands, his face so close to hers that she could smell the peppermint on his breath from his chewing gum.

Her eyes moved slowly back down the girl’s body to her left ankle that lay at an odd angle from her body. There was a blood-soaked red bandanna tied around it. She shuddered and drew in a ragged breath. “Ian, tell them to call Detective Barrow!”

Ian nodded at her, but his hands were full trying to help Noah with the ventilations.

“Do it now!” Ana cried hysterically, “Tell him to meet us at the hospital!”

Rhonda J. Hunt_2019