24s and Snipers

The President was in town the other day. The first I found out about it was seeing a string of police cars and sawhorses by the side of the road. My partner mentioned she’d heard he was coming to speak at one of the local schools. As soon as we passed (headed South into the city), they closed the road.

Dispatch posted us in the north end. We got sent on a call to the northern suburb, but were cancelled before we got out of the parking lot where we’d been idling.

Twenty minutes later, we were sent north again this time for an intercept with the volunteer ambulance. I told my partner to head up a side street as the main road was probably closed.

We ran smack into a roadblock. I guess I should have known they wouldn’t let us through, but I still rolled down the window and told the local cop that we had an emergency up ahead. Sometimes they let you pass, but not I guess when it comes to the President. The cop had his orders. No one passes. I asked for advice on getting there. He said we basically had to go through another town. He at least let us pull past the saw horse so we could do a U-Turn. I wondered later if we had kept on, at what point we would have attracted sniper fire.

We notified dispatch that we were being rerouted and it would be awhile. I thought they might have someone closer, but I guess they didn’t, so we drove a couple miles south back into the city, then drove west and then north again, finally entering the town from a different border.

It worked out all right. We still beat the volunteer crew to the intercept point. It turns out the call was the original one we had been sent and canceled on. A woman with a low blood sugar. A couple IV attempts later (Yes, I am still missing with a disturbing frequency) and we had the woman alert and chatting with us.

Later I saw the woman being discharged from the ED. She was on Baby Medic’s stretcher. “Oh, you brought her in,” he said. “We were making fun of the the 24 in her arm.”

“She was a tough stick,” I said. “It got the job done.”

Baby Medic said he was at the school doing the Presidential standby. He mentioned all the snipers he saw on nearby rooftops.

I neglected to tell him he might have had us a patients had we decided to push our luck at the road block. I would have needed more than a 24. At least I’m an easy stick.


Many years ago, I did a presidential standby and was basically told, if the President needs medical attention for any reason, his detail was going to throw him in his limo and race him to he ED. We would not be touching or treating him. I guess maybe the standby ambulances are for the snipers’ victims.


  • GrumpyRN says:

    When the president came off his bike at the G8 a couple of years ago there was a fully fitted ED within 50 yards but his personal doctor did not use it – took him back to his hotel room. As a side note – apparantly there was an offer of up to £1 million ($2 million) for film or a picture of the fall from a newspaper.

  • Lucian says:

    When the President visited after the VA Tech shootings, the presidential ambulance was in attendance (it is awesome, its all blacked out and armored and has a crew cab on it) however we were told that if the president was injured, he would be taken to the hospital in one of our ambulances…i dunno why thats different in different places. They also had a trauma room sweeped and locked down ready just in case…cool nonetheless.

  • Rogue Medic says:

    Back in the 80’s, before I worked in EMS, I was climbing poles for the cable company. I was working on a pole overlooking the Garden State Parkway, traffic disappeared, mid-day on a weekday this is strange enough to get my attention, then a line of black limos comes cruising along. That was definitely an uncomfortable moment, since I looked more than a little suspicious. I kept my hands in view until they passed. Somebody really did a bad job of securing the area. I never saw any snipers, but you aren’t supposed to.Working in hospitals when the president is in town is something I would avoid if I knew about it ahead of time.A huge head ache. Working EMS, I have always been lucky and not been working in the immediate area.

  • fiznat says:

    ^^ The snipers were on the roof of a building walking around so they were easy to see. There were probably others that I never saw.The secret service guys told us that “if the shit hits the fan” we, and another ambulance, would be in charge of the President. Otherwise, our responsibility was for the rest of the staff.Sorry about making fun of your #24 Peter haha. We were trying to spark up a conversation with that patient and I took the chance to bust a few stones. She did look like a tough stick.*had to make an edit to the last comment…

  • PC says:

    Thanks for the comments. Interesting to hear how the president is treated on different visits.Fiznat- I deserve to be ribbed on my IVs of late. I should stop doing the first IV and just do the second. My first shot percentage of late is lousy. I am holding my own on the 2nd.PC

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