Some times I wish I still drank...

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Tonight on the way home I happened on a hit and run. I think it had JUST happened. The guy's right leg was twisted all wrong, and there was a stream of blood headed from his head to the curb. There was blood in his nose and mouth. I asked him if he was ok but he just wheezed. The lady who had been in the car in front of me was calling for an ambulance when a guy who happened to be an EMT who lived a couple of houses down came running out and yelled that he had already called it in. I knew I was risking a law suit, but I've had a few rides to the hospital in ambulances my self, so I offered to help.

The EMT gave me a mask & bag thingy to help the guy breathe. He was all ready breathing sporadically, so rather than smother him with it, gave him little blasts when he tried to inhale, just trying to give him more air. The EMT cut off his clothes and I realized that his right leg was practically twisted off at the shin. You could see the bone and every thing. Yuck.

Finally the cops, fire department, and an ambulance showed up and I was able to back off. I was just outside my apartment so after I parked I called one of my supervisors (there's no one on the desk after 11) to tell him what happened as I headed up the stairs. I said the guy didn't look good (we don't usually run accidents unless some one dies), but I didn't feel right shooting it since I was involved in helping him. I knew I should though. He said just go ahead and shoot it. I grabbed my camera, went out side, shot the ambulance pulling away, and the scene.

This job is starting to get through my thick skin. Last month it was a fire that the brother of some one I knew died in. Then tonight having to shoot a tragic scene that I'd helped in.

I think after I have my mental break down, I'll open an ice cream shop... :(


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You get major points for being a big part of the solution -- so often (by accident or apathy ?) we who work in news only seem to be part of the problem.

After almost 20 years of "playing" (volunteering) on ambulances as an EMT-Driver, I can tell you without question how good it was that you were there to be an extra pair of hands. My biggest disappointment as an EMT has been the number of times I didn't have time to stop and say "thank you" to the bystander(s) who helped save a life -- they were an unbelievable help, but as soon as the fire department arrived, they got booted out of the immediate scene (never to be seen again). Believe it when you hear how important "the Golden Hour" is for a trauma victim, and remember that you made a real difference in getting this guy definitive treatment as quickly as possible. If he does not survive in the end, it takes nothing away from the good that you did -- all of us will be gone someday, but when God wills it, we manage to save lives.

It seems like we're all taught at the beginning of this career that "it's all only black and white in the viewfinder", and many of us develop a thick skin that helps us watch the worst life has to offer over and over again without going off the deep end. It's a bit of a shock to find out that there are news stories waiting out there that will someday actually directly affect us, but it's all part of being human. I know it had to be hard going back to shoot the scene you were involved in, but it's a valuable skill to learn -- knowing when you're supposed to care, and knowing when you need to temporarily put your feelings aside and just get the job done (a lot of people never learn the first one).

Hang in there, feel good about what you accomplished, and don't be afraid to let people know what you're thinking about. There are a lot more of us who have gone through what you just did than you think :)


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Thanks. I found out today that he sruvived, though appearently they amputated the bad part of that leg (no big suprise). Last I heard he was in critical condition. I'm really relieved.

I was a little disturbed by the kudos I got from people at the station for shooting the footage. They didn't realize that I'd actually helped the guy first. Then they talked about interviewing me and packaging it! I declined and said that the EMT was the real hero. I much perfer being behind the camera.

I'm still a little freaked out. I still see his schreded leg when I close my eyes. I do feel better knowing that he survived.

Here's what was in our Tribune partner the Hartford Courant. No mention of me though: ;)

Police Seek Driver
May 6, 2004
By DANIEL P. JONES, Courant Staff Writer

WEST HARTFORD -- Police Wednesday were looking for the driver of a white pickup truck in a hit-and-run accident on Park Road that injured a West Hartford man on a bicycle.

The man, Mark Uzupes, 39, was in a surgical intensive care unit at Hartford Hospital Wednesday. The hospital would not provide his condition, but police said Uzupes' lower leg or foot was seriously injured in the accident.

The pickup truck and Uzupes collided in the eastbound lane of Park Road near the intersection of Jessamine Street at about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, Capt. William Erickson said.

The pickup truck's windshield was damaged in the accident, police said. West Hartford police were alerting police statewide to look for a full-size white pickup with a severely damaged windshield.

A witness followed the truck after the accident, but did not get a registration plate number, police said. No other description of the truck was available.

Witnesses to the accident also could not describe the driver, although accounts provided to police indicated the truck immediately left the accident scene, turning right to go south on South Quaker Lane, police said.

Anyone who might have seen the accident or might have information about it is asked to call the West Hartford Police Department at 860-523-2007.


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I'm a believer in the idea that true heroes don't want to be, and that the more deserving you are, usually the less you want the recognition.

I was lucky enough to save a life once as a Driver, simply by doing a good (better than I thought I could) assessment of a patient at an MVA scene who originally sounded like a "non-patient" -- he wanted us to go check out his girlfriend and daughter first, and my Medic was tied up with them when I checked back in on him. Although there wasn't any visual indication, it turned out that he had serious internal injuries from hitting the steering wheel -- I (accidentally ?) eventually figured it out when I did a second assessment on him while my partner was busy, and we transported him ALS (paramedic level care) lights & siren to the hospital. I was told by a doctor there that if this hadn't been caught for another 15 minutes his chances for survival would have been minimal. How strange -- every once in a while it IS possible for me to f**k up and actually make a difference in this world :)

The best thing about it was that after we got back go the base only my partner and the paramedic that rode with us ever knew what I had accomplished. It's kind of like shooting famous people -- I see Nancy Lopez every summer at our LPGA event, and can't imagine why I would ever need to get her autograph. It's cool just being able to talk with her kind of as an equal, and do my job the best that I can.


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I'm good at spot news -- just don't always enjoy it anymore. It's not watching tragedy that bugs me most -- it's endless confrontations with law enforcement and self-appointed "fire police" gods. I'm happy now to shoot from the best place I can, rather than trying to see how much more trouble I can get myself into.

I really enjoyed explaining to an intern last summer the differences between our expectd 1st and 4th Amendment "rights" and the realities involved with having a SWAT team member pointing an M-16 at you and telling you to get the hell out of the area or get shot :) -- it seems that the two idealogies are pretty close to light years apart, and I've figured out that the guy with the gun usually wins.

I now love shooting our "Bright Spot" -- a 1-minute anchor-PKG salute to someone who does good for others (every day at the end of the 6pm news). I always meet nice people, and I know that my work is somehow "helping" in the world. For each his own, right ?

The Old Guy

Active member
The way I look at it, I help when I can. I have been asked many times to assist in lighting a scene for EMS or police. I help until I'm not needed anymore. I them step back into my role as a shooter.

If I don't take the shot someone else will. I don't make bad things happen. It's always good to have guys that you blow off steam with after a big bloodbath type call. Humour gets you through a lot. That's why EMS and cops all stand around cracking jokes. They are not being heartless they are blowing off steam.

I was at a call for skeletal remains found in a park. While standing at the top of a hill looking down on the dead guy, a cop starting joking around. He made a comment about the skeleton winking at his partner and a few other comments. It helped everyone lighten up a little. It was a bit crude but it served a purpose.

I also always find a sense of detachment looking through the lens. I can handle more through the lens than I could just looking straight at the scene.


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I think after I have my mental break down, I'll open an ice cream shop...

It's mini-golf for me! The swoosh of palm trees punctuated by a YAY! If I need to flex the creative muscle, I'll redesign a hole. Maybe dancing monkees..... :D

CJ's Dad

Getting back to the topic (Drinking), reminds me of the night I got to the scene of a car that ran off a bridge and nose dived into a concrete pad below. The car stayed vertical with the rear bumper in the air. I could still see the 3 occupants, burned and fused into the interior.

Then, on the wasy back to the station to put away the gear, got a call for a fatality on the highway near the station. It turned out to be a reporter and child from a competing station. Both dead on the scene.

It took a bottle of Bacardi to fall asleep that night. I got over it, but never forgot it.


"I knew I was risking a law suit, but I've had a few rides to the hospital in ambulances my self, so I offered to help."

Just out of curiosity, isn't there a Good Samaritan Law that protects anyone who tries to help an accident victim? (I thought of this same question during an episode of "Ed" where he was sued for hurting a guy he pulled out of a burning car.) It seems like I first learned about this law during CPR training...but maybe it only applies there.
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