The front line

The following story, while completely true, must for the protection of all involved, mask identities, times and locations. Any relationship to actual people is coincidental and should not be interpreted to reveal identities since I have actively attempted to hide them.

There are always people in the world, everyday people, that go out of their way to keep all of us safe. I have a story for you. A story that may never make it into known history books or media.

A man on his travels through the world from eastern Europe to America contracted a disease. He didn’t know he was particularly more sick than anyone else who has a common cold was, except his cold didn’t seem to be getting any better. When he was detained by immigration officials he explained to them where he had been and a quick exam revealed he was positive for an airborn respiratory infection. What he and the medical staff were not expecting was finding out that whatever medications they would use on the disease seemed to do nothing to cure it. Some very strong antibiotics were attempted, the strongest available actually, and the disease was not fazed.

Can you imagine the dangers? An airborn disease, easily transmitted via a cough or a sneeze, being carried by a world traveler who entered the United States illegally and now has the potential to spread?

A team had to be assembled, the patient had to be moved from one location to another and utmost care had to be taken to not expose others. A specially trained nurse was flown in with a sealed enclosure that would be used to house the patient until he arrived at a different medical facility. EMS personel had to be brought in, vetted for security purposes and prepared for the transport. Security was high, not due to the patient being a flight risk or dangerous, but due to the risk of exposure to an inocent public. Specialist doctors and military experts have to be brought in and the caravan can begin.

A vehicle has to be escorting the ambulance in the front and one in the back with a third vehicle for the doctor.

What I want to put in your minds is this, imagine the nurse in the back of the unit with the paramedic. Imagine you knowing the disease this patient has is airborn and if you do contract it there are no antibiotics or medications that can even slow it down. But our work must be done. Imagine if you will knowing that if you make a mistake it may not be just your life, but that of your family, your wife, your children that can be contaminated. It’s true that it’s a job and we are not really hero’s but it’s also true that these things that medics do, that nurses do, that all first responders do can carry a huge risk. But our work must be done.

I know this is but a small example of a story that may never be widely known. This is a story about all of us. All of us in the field. I just had to share it with you guys and say thanks to all of those involved. You risk much, I hope we don’t squander our reward.

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