EMS Birthday Memories

This week I am officially one year deeper into my mid-thirties.  Having worked several times on my birthday in the last 12 years, I am reminded of memorable calls I handled that day.  Here are two sad ones:

Eight years ago, on the night before my birthday, I proposed to my wife. I went into work the next morning, and my new fiance had planned to have dinner ready at my apartment when I got off.  About two hours before shift change we were sent to an unconscious person at a college football stadium.  I was just about to start my paperwork at the hospital when we were sent to a road near the same stadium for a crash.  One patient was reportedly ejected and another was trapped.   I had the patient who was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected, and my partner had the trapped patient who was wearing his.  Both patients were two years younger then I turned that day, and both of them died a few days later.  After writing the reports for that and the previous call, it was almost 10 PM when I arrived home. 

It was just after midnight a few years ago when we were sent to an unknown medical problem on a street corner.  It was pouring rain, and we pulled up behind several police cars.  I noticed that the rain water was tinted with blood as it poured into the storm drain, and we walked under the crime scene tape to find a 30-something  man who was shot in the head.  I looked at my watch, as I always do, to check the date for the DOA paperwork.  Out of habit I wrote the month, day, and year I was born.  Then I stopped for a second, and just realized my birthday began a few hours earlier.  I tore up that DOA form and started another one with the correct year.

Around this time each year, I get a little tap on the shoulder to remind me  how fortunate I am.  My wife signed up for my late calls 24 hours before I got home that night 8 years ago, and I am so grateful for the support she’s given me since then.   For the families of those unfortunate patients, my birthday is the anniversary of their tragedy.  Life is fragile, and those events bring perspective about what’s most important.


  1. Jack Sullivan says:

    Thanks for your service, Bob, and happy birthday. Dad and Mom

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