The worst horror and nightmare that any parent could face happened to Antonio Brown on July 4, when his son, Amari Brown, became another innocent child-victim of our gun and violence-infested society. The most heart-wrenching image came to mind when I read the following account:

“Brown was standing near his son at the time of the shooting and told the Chicago Tribune that he picked up his son and sped off to the hospital.

“‘I picked him up and put him in the car. I was in the back seat; I was talking to him the whole time,’ Brown said. ‘I was like, ‘You cool, I know you cool.'”

Brown said Amari was still alive in the car and responded to his father, saying, ‘Yeah, I’m cool. I’m cool.’

In an emergency, it is easy to understand how rational thinking gets overshadowed by emotions. A person’s adrenaline kicks in and all a parent wants to do is save his or her child. As I sat speaking with several paramedics this past weekend, they wanted me to let everyone know that — even if it takes an ambulance five to seven minutes to reach a victim — an ambulance is always the better option and gives a victim a better chance for survival. An ambulance is an emergency room on wheels.

First and foremost, as paramedics they have been through intensive training. They also deal with gunshot victims all the time. They know how to do CPR on the victim’s airway to keep it pumping blood to the body. They know how important it is to keep the victim calm, as well as to stabilize them. Once stabilized, the victim can be readily transported to the hospital.  In the case of a child, they will give the young person pure oxygen as opposed to the twenty one percent they get breathing air. The paramedics are trained to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. They can start an intravenous drip.  Most importantly, as they drive the victim to the hospital, they are in contact with the emergency room personnel. Therefore, the emergency room is prepared to receive a gunshot victim. They know the victim’s age. They know the injury. 

The paramedics said one of the hardest things for emergency room personnel to deal with is someone running into an emergency room with an injured person, screaming ‘Save my friend.’ The emergency room personnel have no idea what the problem is.  Precious moments are wasted as they try to determine the problem; whereas in an ambulance, the paramedics are in constant radio conversation with the hospital.

Next, we cannot appreciate enough the importance of the ride to the hospital.  Once an ambulance starts rolling, it may slow down, but it does not stop for traffic signals.  With its sirens blaring, traffic moves out of the ambulance’s way so that it can swiftly get the injured person to the hospital. 

Let us all remember in times of tragedy and emergency to use the systems set in place for just those circumstances.