At the hospital, preparation and sadness
The men and women who make up the Island's emergency medical community respond at all hours to calls for assistance. Police, fire and rescue units arrived from Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, West Tisbury and Chilmark at the scene of Thursday night's deadly crash.
Jennifer Haynes of Tri-Town Ambulance and the incident commander on scene called the Martha's Vineyard Hospital emergency department and asked Dr. Stuart Kendall, who was on duty that night, to alert the hospital trauma team. Dr. Kendall was soon joined in the emergency room by Dr. Jeffrey Zack, surgeon Pieter Pil, and a team of nurses.
John Rose, chief of the Oak Bluffs Ambulance Service, arrived at the scene, and based on the seriousness of the accident and the severity of the injuries he called immediately for a medical air evacuation. Heavy fog, Mr. Rose told The Times, made that impossible.
Instead, the only option was a boat ride on the stern deck of the 44-footer through the dark and fog to a waiting ambulance in Woods Hole. Mr. Rose said the crossing took about 40 minutes. They arrived about 1 am.
It was a very long, nerve-wracking 40 minutes for Mr. Rose and Julie Lindland, a paramedic.
"You are in the middle of the sound, and if conditions turn on your patient, there is no quick access to a hospital," Mr. Rose said. "So it is stressful, to say the least, but we also know that in some cases that is the person's only chance of survival."
Mr. Rose said he often works with the Coast Guard. "They were great, they're always very helpful," he said.
Mr. Rose, Ms. Lindland and Ms. McCarron arrived at Mass General about 3:30 am. An ambulance making a return trip provided a ride back, a trip normally made by taxi.
Mr. Rose's long night did not end until after 10 am Friday morning when he was finally able to get several hours of sleep.
Mr. Rose praised his fellow EMTs and rescue units. He said everybody worked together, although unfortunately the outcome was not what they would have hoped.
"I have two teenage daughters," Mr. Rose said. "It really hits home when you have a call like this, and you being a parent yourself, and you know that the parents are coming in to basically receive the worst news of their life, that they've lost the most precious thing in the world to them."
Mr. Rose said that in many ways the hardest part of a call is looking at the faces of the parents when they walk into the ER. He said it is difficult to explain the emotions in words.
As is often the case for many of the Island's first responders, very often Mr. Rose knows the people he is trying to help. It can be a very difficult part of the job.