The radio buzzed to life with a general broadcast requesting the response of an ambulance for a male with a gunshot wound to the head.

It quickly stole my attention away from the mundane paperwork on my lap. I shove it onto the dashboard and grab at the handset to announce our availability. The middle console pings to life and the job details disjointedly begin appearing on the screen.

My mentor pulls the truck away from the hospital as my mind kicks into gear with all of the possibilities and how to treat them.

Major trauma jobs don come along very often, so each one is invaluable experience to help build my competency as a student paramedic.

Ive worked in varying healthcare positions since volunteering at the hospice when I was seventeen. I was completing my A Levels at Esher College at the time and I toyed with the idea of a few different courses before settling on Paramedic Science. The hospital routines and hierarchy seemed unappealing and I settled into a life on the road.

”A shot to the head…surely thats fatal? ” I stumble over the very plausible outcome, ”Or the job isn as given ”.

The paramedic to my right gave a definitive nod. Hazel eyes trained fiercely on the South London roads laced with cars and pedestrians, even at this late hour.

Nearing forty with over ten years of experience, I was fortunate to have a seasoned medic as my mentor. Sharons slight frame sat stiff in the chair, her olive skin paling around her knuckles as she gripped the wheel.

Buildings and cars flew by as blue spots danced in the windows. The siren a whaling accompaniment to our escapades.

The ring of the radio cut through the cab; ”Sierra 150 ” I confirmed picking up the dated handset.

”Hi 150! Just to let you know, the area has been secured by armed police but the potentially armed assailant hasn been detained. ” The chirpy voice sang from control.

”Thank you, have a goodnight ” I replied before gazing between Sharon and Rob, who leaned in from the back as he bobbed around unbuckled.

”So whats the plan? ” Rob watched us expectantly until Sharon began.

The rest of the journey was engulfed by a discussion of roles and responsibilities. Rob handed me the dressings pack as we pulled to a stop.

Swinging the heavy door open, I carefully manoeuvre down the step that remains a constant reminder of my vertical challenge.

I slip on the blue face mask, partially covering my freckle dusted face.

I hurry over to the incident. Taking note of what the rapid response paramedic is doing, I meet the bouncer at the head.

I quickly pause to take in the situation.

The man, easily six foot tall, is tucked under an insulated blanket surrounded by butchered pieces of clothing and feathers scattering the ground. Evidencing no other injury sites, I direct my attention back to the bandage being held to the patients head.

”Hi, Im Evelyn, Im a student paramedic ” I introduced myself to the bouncer and patient.

I begin a kit dump on my plastic sheet.

Satisfied that I had everything I may need to dress the wound and stem the bleeding, I ask the bouncer to carefully remove the damp dressing from the left side of the patients head for assessment.

The wound is eclipsed by blood-matted hair blocking my view of the injury site. However, it is clear the bleed is arterial.

I place a layer of haemostatic gauze followed by a pressure bandage against the site. To secure my positioning I place my free hand on the right sight of the patients head, enabling me to apply pressure to the wound.

The invasive beat of the packed club reverberates through the full-length glass windows behind me. A collection of phone cameras peak a look between bouncers. But beyond the few, the blissfully ignorant sea of young adults continue their night of drinking.

A wall of armed police enclose a generous section of the high street with a smaller ring around the medics and patient.

Red and blue lights flood the swarming scene.

e you feeling? ” I ask.

”Apart from being shot, I can complain! ” The deep voice soothed the February air, drawing a chuckle from my lips.

The other medics had worked swiftly to gain access, obtain observations and ensure there were no other injuries. Without further delay, we carefully guided the patient onto the awaiting trolley bed.

Even at full extension, the patients feet hung off of the end of the bed. His broad shoulders spilling over the sides as he laced his manicured fingers together over his chest.

I walk with the trolley, focusing on maintaining the pressure against the wound. My right hand slips slightly through his blood tinged hickory hair, but Im able to readjust to the new position with ease.

The bed locks into place with the signature jolt and click before I lower myself onto the chair, the trolley bed floating above my lap.

Sharon reattaches the monitors whilst Rob climbs into the drivers seat. He places a pre-alert for the nearest major trauma centre to give them a chance to prepare for us. Although, even on lights itll take a while to get to the hospital.

After quickly reconfirming with Sharon that the patient is stable, she jumps up front leaving me alone in the back.

”So…what happened? ” I inquired, his features now distinguishable under the harsh white light. His lips pressed into a thin line before the corners pointed upwards with a long exhale.

”Some guy refused to take a hint from a lady, who was just trying to go home. So, I reinforced her point ” his stated casually; ”I noticed a man retrieve a gun from his backpack, barrel aimed at me. Instinctively, I turned my head. ”

”Did you at least get her number? ” Caught offguard by my response, he raised his prominent eyebrows. Turquoise eyes searching mine. Entranced by the beautiful oceans looking up at me, I jumped slightly when rich laughter filled the truck.

”No, I think she was rather freaked out by all of the blood. It wasn until she started panicking that I realised what had happened. ” He elaborated, the residue of laughter still entwined in his voice.

The clubs bouncer had reported spotting the commotion and ran over with a first aid kit. The shooter was long gone before anyone had come back to their senses.

The truck flew round a corner jolting me off the seat. A strong hand caught my arm, supporting me until I regained my balance. Heat radiated up my arm like a warm hug protecting me from the bitter cold winters night.

”Sorry! ” Sharon called out bringing me back into the room.

”Thank you ”, I breathed whilst looking away at the luminescent door. ”Whats your name? ”

”Adrian ”, he replied followed by a kind, reassuring smile.

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