“Child’s Foot Caught in Lawnmower”
While working as a K-9 officer in 1997, a call was voiced over the radio from the dispatch center, “Unit closest to the 900 block of South Spruce Avenue—please advise for a three year old child who’s foot is caught in a lawnmower.” I knew I was about three minutes from there, so not wanting to lose any time, I turned on my vehicle’s lights and siren and drove toward the child’s house as I advised the dispatcher I was responding “code-three.” I later reviewed the call history and I had actually cut my response time to less than 90 seconds.
I prayed to the Lord for His help and to keep me calm in my actions and thoughts and to be professional in order to help the child. I thought of all my first aid training and the fact that my backing officer was more than five minutes away! As I came closer to the child’s home, I saw that paramedics had not yet arrived and no family members or neighbors were there to wave me in.
I pulled up to the house and ran to the open front door. I had to jump over toys and a baby walker. The child’s mother was screaming and the child’s father, who was in shock, was holding the victim in his arms. Nothing was being done to help the victim! The child’s foot looked as if had been through a blender and was as red as a lobster. The child was in shock and losing blood quickly and his father was just holding him! I remembered having to jump over the baby walker and that meant there had to be diapers in the house. I had to yell at the child’s mother, “Bring me diapers!” as I ran to a bedroom to pull blankets off a bed. I pulled the child from his father’s arms and covered the child. I then elevated the child’s head and, without time to glove-up, I held several diapers on the severely wounded foot.
Paramedics arrived five minutes after the call had been broadcast and they quickly taped the diapers on the foot and in less than one minute, we carried the child to the paramedic’s ambulance where the child was rushed to University Medical Center. I sent a MDC (police vehicle computer) message asking the dispatcher for a few minutes alone and not being sent to another call. She understood and granted my request. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, I was sent to back another officer on a domestic violence call when no one else could “take the back.”
I later spoke to the responding paramedics who told me the child’s foot had to be amputated but was expected to recover. One of the paramedics told me, “You did a good job with using those diapers and treating for shock. You saved that kid’s life. My Captain is putting you in for a life-saving award.”
Later that same year, just before Christmas, I stopped by the home of that same family to see if they needed anything and discovered they had moved. None of the neighbors had any information on how to contact them .
I’ve often thought about this call whenever I would drive down Spruce Avenue. Many of the officers with whom I worked (and later the officers I supervised as a patrol sergeant), would say I almost always seemed to be at the right place at the right time.
As a cop, I made it a point to let God lead me in everything I did. And, just as in this instance, I was at the right place at the right time to save this little boys life.
Although that life saving award never came to pass, it was never my desire to serve with the idea of earning medals or the praise of man. I just wanted to do the Lord’s will, serve HIM first, serve HIM well and be used for HIS glory.
That simply led me to “be at the right place at the right time” over and over again.