Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Swear To Uphold The Constitution (Sometimes)

No one really goes to law school, takes courses in Constitutional Law I and II and aspires to be a personal injury attorney, or a workers compensation attorney. But if asked, we all adamantly state without reservation that we will uphold the Constitution of the United States. It's to the point where I 'solemly swear' to uphold the Constitution of the United States a few times a year now, for one professional or volunteer organization or another. But no one will ever be able to arrest me for perjury though. I never use my real name. I just say "I, state your name". I just have to be careful now not to change my real name to 'state your name', and I will never get caught. For anything. Ever. I'm so friggin smart, like Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius!

The authorities don't enforce the law of the land anyway. It was about 9pm, dark and rainy the other night when a "Delta" call (Advanced Life Support Tech required to respond) came over the frequency right after the tones that rang specific for Brentwood. 'Infant trauma'. The adrenaline rushed through my veins. My heart beat faster. Immediately I began organizing the tools in the ambulance I would need to go with (my crew and i were already on the ambulance returning from another call). The ambulance did a hockey stop skid in front of the house. I moved briskly to the front door and knocked somewhat feverishly. I peeked through the window and saw at least 6 hispanic adults scatter about. The hispanic woman who answered the door would only open it a crack, "no here, no here, maybe around back" she muttered and then shut the door on me. The lady was indicating the side area of her house that was without any outside lighting. So around the house we go, where we stop nobody knows. The police department arrived on scene. We fanned out a bit, turned on our flashlights, and stumbled over cracked flagstone onto a broken cement path, which led to a stairwell without lights or handrails, that led to a basement door. There was what looked like a tool shed out to the right about 25 feet, which might have housed another family as well.

We entered the basement door, and found another maze of hallways and bedrooms, and the infant who was (thankfully) peaceful in her grandmother's arms. The baby, 13 months old, had a smile the lit up a room, and shiny bright eyes that seemed to notice every detail around her. She had fallen out of a bed, and the multitude of families living in the basement reacted by calling 911. One of the cops asked to see the baby's crib so that we could determine the height from which the baby girl fell. The police officer and I followed one of the many basement residents into a small, makeshift room with a single bed. "Where's the crib?" I asked. "This is where she sleeps. She doesn't have a crib" the man said. No railings around the bed to be seen or found anywhere. I wonder how many times this little girl had fallen out of this bed before. "Where's mommy?" I asked. "She no here. She in hospital". But none of the many basement occupants could really provide her contact information, or tell me why mommy was in the hospital.

We took the little girl to the hospital just to get checked out, but I'm sure she's fine... for now. The cops left too. No investigation. No tickets issued. Nothing done. Nothing. Nothing about the fire code violations in the basement. Nothing about checking to see where mommy was. Nothing about making sure the baby returned from the hospital to a place where she would have a safe place to sleep, like a crib or a bed with rails. Nothing about an investigation as to whether any of the residents in this house actually paid their taxes. Nothing about the lack of lighting, nothing about investigating whether people were actually living in the shed in the backyard.

So, you see, while we are a nation of laws, and we often swear to uphold the Constitution, we really don't on a consistent basis. Not even the officers of the law do it consistently, maybe some don't at all. Even when the health and safety of a 13 month old baby girl is at stake. The whole thing is more than slightly bizarre to me really. Go to law school to study the law that no one follows or enforces anyway. And then raise your right hand and swear to uphold the Constitution so that everyone listening can feel better about you becoming a member of an organization to which they too belong- just don't take the oath too seriously.

My tour ended after midnight. There were no cars on the expressway as I drove home, except for the one with the red and blue flashing lights behind me - WHAT!!! The cop pulled me over. "I see you have firefighter/EMT license plates". "Yes, sir, I volunteer as a firefighter and an EMT, just going home from my tour tonight." "This won't take long, I will be right back he said. I wasn't worried. Until he came back and handed me a ticket, and wished me a nice night. Oh, the irony!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Medic Interrupted- it sure took you long enough! You have been missed, however, I must say with a story like this it was well worth the wait! XOXO- Gossip Girl