This is the event that occurred in August of 1990, during my first official call as a paramedic. This scarred me to the point that I haven’t spoken of it for 24 years. I finally feel this is the one place that will appreciate and accept my story. The following is the story of August 17th, 1990.
I was 27 when this happened. Life was good, and I had just finished medical school, and was about to begin my decently paying job as a paramedic. I was happy, life had finally presented great opportunities, and I intended to take advantage. We had to undergo intense training, along with countless hours of studying human anatomy, but on August 16,1990, I was officially named a paramedic of Westbrook County. Scheduled to start the next day, I was unable to sleep, relishing in the fact that I had finally done it. Excitement laced every word I spoke as I reported in, ready for my first day on the job. I worked in a small crew of 4, and over the time we spent training together, we became considerably close as friends. It was around 10 AM that we got our first official call.
I was from a worried neighbor. She said her neighbor, Ms. Carter, was an old widow with a history of health problems. She was worried something may have happened to her, possibly a serious injury, seeing as she hadn’t left her house for over a week. After the information and address were relayed to us, my crew and I were dispatched. We were accompanied by 2 officers in the case of a crime.
Our driving brought us across town, to a small, rural neighborhood. We pulled up to the little house, and were greeted by the distressed neighbor. We loaded out all of the necessary tools and approached the door. After a few knocks and multiple bangs all without a reply from the inside, the officers kicked in the door with one solid kick. The horrible fragrance attacked our nostrils as the door flew open, causing a few of us to gag. We walked inside, calling her name, our shoes clacking on the smooth tile. We walked slowly, and we turned the corner to enter the dining room. The smell intensified as Ms. Carter lay on the floor. She let out desperate moans as she saw us approach. The mangled flesh clung to her gnawed arms, chunks of flesh missing around her body. We approached her, wondering who would do this, but upon further inspection, it was revealed that these wounds were self inflicted.
Out of desperation, Ms. Carter had partially eaten herself, for she was unable to reach an food or water from her fallen position. As we attempted to lift her onto the stretcher, I noted the dried, crusted flesh dug under her nails, and dry blood around her mouth. She forced us to restrain her, as she still attempted to chew on the hanging flesh. We loaded her into the ambulance, heading back to the hospital. On the way back, the officers gave the officer report. He explained saying that Ms. Carter had fallen, with no assistance to get up. Possibly laying there for over a week, she desperately resulted to eating parts of herself. It was by far, the most gut wrenching experience I have ever had.
Seeing as how that was my first job, I still worked, and overtime, the work became easier. Ms. Carter died later in the hospital, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and those gruesome sights of self cannibalism. I worked as a paramedic for 9 years after that day, never experiencing anything llike that again. That day remains on my constantly.