Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Life of a Paramedic in the Most Violent City in the Western Hemisphere: Hérika Martínez Prado Reports

Hérika Martínez Prado has a beautifully written story in today's Norte. Here are parts of it, my translation:

"You never get used to seeing the wounded. You grasp what you see, you accept it, and you go on, but you don't get used to it. To see men dead or wounded is routine, but to see a seriously wounded woman, a young woman severely beaten, that bothers you a little. The children you never forget. To be honest they will always be with you," a paramedic told Martínez.

"Many of us have children and afterwards it enters your mind your child could be there, innocently at the wrong place when something happens they don't deserve."

"Psychological therapy sometimes helps when you get stressed out. Some of my co-workers have asked for a break from work." Last month a group of paramedics were sent for some psychological counseling "because we were all wandering around with a screw loose, but you try to finish your work as quickly as possible when stressed because you know there will be more work to do and periods will come up when all hell breaks loose ("se suelta el chamuquin")."

He said the worst thing he's seen was an explosion on a bus at with a lot of children on the outskirts of the city. "You could see a mother hugging her child, protecting it, both bodies completely charred, hugging each other; that hits you, honestly it affected me and I had to chill out ("despabilarme"), as they say."

Paramedics have been criticized for not giving medical assistance until police arrive, but because of threats received these are the orders they must follow. After the wounded are taken to the hospital the paramedics are released for further duty.

"Right now the orders are for the ambulance not to leave without protection if the person is the victim of a gunshot because we've been told if we were anywhere near we would be sprayed with lead. These threats might not be serious, but you tell yourself, if they don't mind shooting children, why should they mind killing you in an ambulance."

1 comment:

GSal said...

God bless them for finding the strength to continue as no end is in sight.