Disclaimer: All rights to Emergency! belong to Universal and Mark VII Productions.
An alternate version of the incident in "Propinquity" when Roy was in the ambulance collision.
A/N1: No Wayne Lyman in this version. Johnny follows the ambulance in the squad, as usual. No poker game, no refinery rescues.
A/N2: There's been confusion over the Dwyer character. I think the show was confused too! As far as I can tell, there have been three different actors playing Dwyer, one of them had Tom as a first name, and another was Charlie. Then there's the Charlie Johnson character played by Larry Manetti. But he also might have been Dwyer at some point. I don't think the show cared much about consistency or continuity with minor recurring characters! For all I know, maybe Dwyer was a first name! Anyway, in my version here, Charlie is Charlie Johnson (Larry Manetti) and Tom Dwyer is the tall blondish fellow (Brian Cutler). Neither of them appeared in the original "Propinquity" episode, but I like them, so I'm adding them!
Roy finished prepping the female car crash victim for transport, and then the ambulance attendants, Hal and George, helped to lift her onto the gurney. Roy told Johnny that he would ride in with her. Johnny said he would get Roy's helmet and things, and meet him at Rampart. The patient was loaded into the ambulance, and then George and Roy got inside with her. Johnny closed the back doors, and gave the customary two slaps to indicate they were ready to go. Hal was driving the ambulance. He turned on the siren and started the drive to Rampart General, just as he had done hundreds of times before.
It seemed like a typical, routine trip to the hospital at first. Johnny was driving the squad, following Hal about half of a block behind him.
Suddenly, Johnny noticed a car coming very fast from a side cross street. It did not slow down as it neared the upcoming intersection, and Johnny watched helplessly as it collided full-speed into the left side of the ambulance. Within seconds, both cars ran up and over the curb, but the speed and force of the impact, along with hitting the curb, sent the ambulance tumbling over on its side, and then it almost continued over onto its roof. It teetered precariously for a moment on the edge of the roof, but its own weight pulled it back down so that it laid to rest on its side.
Horrified, Johnny was stunned for moment knowing that Roy and the others could be seriously injured, or worse. He quickly radioed dispatch.
"LA, Squad 51! We have a major vehicle collision with our transport ambulance! South Burnside and 52nd. Respond an engine, additional squad and another ambulance."
"Squad 51." The dispatcher acknowledged, as Johnny tossed the microphone and scrambled out of the squad. He ran over to the front end of the ambulance, motioning for several pedestrian onlookers to stand back.
The ambulance was resting on its right side. Looking through the windshield, Johnny saw that Hal had slid down from the left (now the top) of the front seat and was settled against the right door (now the bottom). The only way to reach him would be to either knock out the windshield, or drop down inside from the left door or window. He couldn't do either of those things on his own. Hal looked very bad. Lots of blood, and no movement.
Johnny then ran around to the back end to see if he could open the back doors. They were jammed shut and wouldn't budge. He looked in the back window, and saw that all the people and things inside had been thrown around by the impact. George and the female patient were visible, but he couldn't see Roy at all. He must be underneath everything, Johnny thought. There were also no sounds or movement from George or the girl. Not looking good here either.
Johnny then ran over to the car that hit the ambulance. By now, he could hear sirens approaching, and could see Engine 51 and a sheriff car heading toward them.
The driver, a male about 30, was slumped over the steering wheel, not moving. Johnny reached in through the open window and felt his neck for a carotid. Nothing.
Engine 51 pulled up behind the squad. Captain Stanley came up to Johnny, who was having a hard time keeping his emotions in check. Cap put a hand on Johnny's shoulder.
"Cap, I can't get the back doors open. Hal's hurt bad up front, can't reach him either. Other driver's dead."
"Okay, we'll get them out. Hang in there, pal." Cap turned to Chet and Marco. "Get a couple of pry bars, and wash down any gasoline spill."
Chet started working on getting the back door open, while Marco started to pry the windshield. Mike washed the street surrounding the vehicles. After a few moments, the windshield was peeled back enough for Johnny to reach inside and feel for Hal's carotid. Nothing. Johnny let out a mournful sigh. "Aw, Hal…" he said softly, shaking his head.
"So sorry, Johnny. I know he was a friend." Marco said, as Johnny stood back.
"Yeah." Johnny quietly agreed.
"I'll go get a blanket to cover him up." Marco offered respectfully. He ran back to the engine. Johnny went around to the back of the ambulance to assist Chet, Mike and Cap with the back doors. They were not having any luck getting the doors open.
"Mike, let's get the K-12." Cap ordered. Mike returned with the powerful saw in a moment, just as Squad 18 pulled up to the scene. Paramedics Tom Dwyer and Charlie Johnson walked up to them. Johnny was glad to see his pals from 51's C shift, who were obviously both working some overtime for Station 18. As they spotted how distressed Johnny looked, they realized the implication.
"Is Roy in there?" Charlie asked, although the answer was plain. Cap nodded. "Oh, man."
Mike flipped down the face shield on his work helmet, turned on the K-12 saw, and started to slowly cut through the metal doors of the ambulance. The others waited impatiently, unable to do much else until they had access to the unfortunate passengers inside. Johnny started pacing back and forth, having a hard time keeping his cool. Can't he do this any faster? he thought, even though he knew Mike was working as quickly as he could.
The sheriff deputy came up to Johnny and started asking some questions.
"Did you see the accident happen?"
"Yeah, I was following right behind the ambulance. That car was speeding and hit them straight on." Johnny shook his head. "Both drivers are dead."
Cap took the opportunity of Johnny being distracted by the officer to call in the Code I. Even though they couldn't see Roy yet, it was pretty clear that Roy wouldn't be walking away from this unscathed.
Charlie decided to update Rampart on the situation. "Rampart, this is Squad 18."
"Go ahead 18." Brackett responded.
"Rampart, Squad 51's ambulance has had a major collision. We're still extricating victims. Please standby."
"Standing by, 18." Brackett replied.
Mike, Chet and Marco finally managed to pry apart a new opening for the ambulance. With no hesitation, Johnny climbed inside, and reached the patient first. She was still partially strapped onto the gurney, but she had been tossed around a bit, her IV ripped out, and her neck looked broken. Johnny felt for her carotid, but there was nothing. She was dead. "Damn." Johnny whispered. He was terrified that none of them had survived. He was starting to shake a little, but tried very hard to remain professional. He could see that Roy was underneath the woman and the gurney, but he was unreachable at the moment.
"She's gone. Can you help me get her out?" Johnny said to Tom and Charlie. Charlie climbed in next to Johnny, and the two of them began to lift the dead woman out to Tom and the others.
They laid her down on the street, a few feet away from the ambulance. Marco came over with another blanket and covered her, then silently knelt and said a short prayer.
Back in the ambulance, Johnny moved a few pieces of equipment aside and reached George, the attendant. Johnny grinned as he managed to find a carotid pulse for him, glad that at least one person had survived. Johnny quickly placed a c-collar on George, and checked him for broken bones. Not finding any, Johnny and Charlie got him on a backboard. The jostling movement seemed to revive George, and he regained consciousness in time to see himself being lifted up and out to Tom, Chet and Marco. They carried him out to the street where Tom started working on him.
Johnny and Charlie lifted the gurney off of Roy and handed it out of the ambulance. Johnny reached down to feel Roy's neck for a carotid, praying that he would find one. A very large smile of relief spread on Johnny's face when he was able to detect a pulse.
"Hey guys! Roy's alive! I got a pulse!" he called back over shoulder.
Johnny and Charlie continued to remove various pieces of equipment that were all resting on top of Roy… the seat cushions, the oxygen tank, the IV pole, and the monitor. After hefting the heavy monitor out of the way, Johnny finally had good access to Roy, and it didn't look good. Roy was unconscious, and he had a very nasty gash on his forehead. He was bleeding profusely from that injury, and had other injuries as well. One whole side of his face and head was covered in blood. He was in a very awkward position, due to being flung against the side and ceiling of the ambulance when it overturned. Johnny did not like seeing his best friend this way, but tried to remain professional and keep his cool. Roy deserved that.
"How's he doing?" Charlie asked.
"I hope he stays unconscious, because he would be in a world of hurt. He's probably got a cracked skull, and look at his leg down there. " Johnny said.
"I've got a backboard here." Charlie offered.
Johnny fastened a c-collar on Roy's neck, splinted Roy's leg, and then he and Charlie gently straightened Roy's other limbs out and got him onto the backboard. Charlie wrapped a gauze dressing around Roy's head, securing him to the backboard. Then the unfortunate happened.
Just like with George, as they were lifting Roy up, the jostling motion seemed to revive him and he started to moan. Johnny looked at Charlie. "Oh no, he's waking up. Dammit!" Johnny cursed.
"We can't give him any painkiller with that head injury." Charlie shook his head.
"Let's get him out of here, quick. Straight into the other ambulance. We'll stabilize him there and take off." Johnny and Charlie lifted Roy up and managed to get him out of the wrecked ambulance. Roy was moaning louder now, and by the time they got him into the new ambulance, he was fully conscious and in tremendous pain. Roy's agony greatly disturbed all the men of 51, but especially Johnny. He was finding it very hard to stay in paramedic mode when his friend was in so much pain.
"Johnny…." Roy managed to grunt.
"I'm here, Roy." Johnny tried to soothe him as he worked. "Try to relax. You've got a head injury, Pally. Just hang on for me, okay?"
"Hurts…" Roy's breathing had become quite labored and his voice was barely a squeak.
"I know it does." Johnny's own voice was starting to shake. Tom put his hand on Johnny's shoulder.
"Johnny, let Charlie and me take over," he said gently. "You just concentrate on keeping him distracted, okay?"
"Okay. Thanks, Tom." Johnny moved so that Tom and Charlie had better access, but he was still close enough to hold on to Roy's hand.
"Rampart, this is Squad 18." Charlie called it in.
Johnny started talking to Roy so that he wouldn't hear the conversation with Rampart.
"So Joanne took the kids over to her mother's, right? While your house is being fumigated?"
"I'm gonna need to call her. Do you have your mother-in-law's phone number somewhere? Do you have it memorized?"
"Not… memorized…. I don't…. call her …. much…. Ahhh…"
"Shhh shhhh…. Take it easy. " Johnny squeezed his hand, Roy squeezed back… hard. "Hang in there, Roy. Tell me where I can find that phone number."
Charlie continued his report. "Rampart, we have five victims of an MVA involving the ambulance that was transporting 51's patient. Victim number one is the patient from that original run, and she has expired. Victim number two, the attendant, is a male, approximately 35 years old, probable concussion. He was unconscious for a few minutes but is now conscious. He has some minor scrapes and contusions, and a dislocated shoulder. Vitals are stable. Victim number three is Paramedic Roy DeSoto, he was unconscious for about fifteen minutes, but is now conscious. He has a severe laceration on his forehead with considerable bleeding, possible concussion and skull fracture, also he has a broken leg and multiple contusions. Vitals are…"
Johnny continued to question Roy, while Tom set up an IV. "Do you have it in your wallet?"
"Nuh….. no….. Maybe my locker…."
"In your locker at the station?"
"Johnny, we're ready to transport now. " Charlie said. "Hey Lou, take off!" he called to the driver.
"Roy, we're heading to the hospital now. Should be there in about eight minutes or so. Hang in there." Johnny told him.
"Hurts…" he was getting agitated again.
The siren blaring, the ambulance began what Johnny felt was one of the longest trips to the hospital ever. Johnny couldn't think of anything else to talk about to distract Roy, who was moaning and grunting with pain again. It was such a disturbing sound, and Johnny was getting upset. He could hardly keep tears from his own eyes, when he saw Roy's eyes tearing up.
"Where does your mother-in-law live, Roy?" Johnny finally thought of something.
"Uh…. Garden Grove."
"Garden Grove? In Orange County?"
"Isn't that near Disneyland?"
"Uh… Yeah, kinda. Ahhh!"
"Shhh sshhh… we're almost there. So, what rides do your kids like at Disneyland?"
"Umm….Uh…. Jenn likes Dumbo."
"Dumbo, huh? That's a cute ride. Sounds like something she'd like."
"Yeah. Cute." Roy actually managed a miniscule smile at the thought of his little girl on the flying elephant ride. Johnny was glad that thinking of his kids seemed to be helping.
"How about Chris? What does he like?"
"Chris likes…. Tom Saw… yer Island….."
"Oh, yeah, Tom Sawyer Island, with all the caves and weird bridges and stuff. " Johnny looked out the window to see where they were, wishing the damn ambulance could just fly to the hospital. "All right, what about you? What do you like at Disneyland?"
"Uh…. I…. I like the riverboat. The big one."
"The Mark Twain." Charlie input. Johnny looked at him. "I like Disneyland too." Charlie shrugged.
"Yeah… Mark Twain." Roy agreed. He continued to squeeze Johnny's hand to keep from groaning so much.
The ambulance pulled into the Emergency entrance driveway at Rampart. It seemed like it took forever for them to get backed up to the hospital entrance doors.
"Here we are Roy. Tell you what. When you're better, we'll take the kids and go to Disneyland. How about that?"
"Okay. " Roy was very pale and sweaty. Tom and Charlie lifted the gurney out and down while Johnny continued to hold Roy's hand. Tom was holding the IV bag as they rolled Roy into the ER.
The walk down the hall to the treatment rooms almost seemed to go in slow motion. Johnny was so worried about Roy that he was starting to feel dizzy himself. He felt Roy release his hand, and he looked down at him to see that Roy had passed out again. He heard Brackett's voice, then he saw Tom and the ambulance attendants take Roy into Treatment Four, and then Charlie, Dr. Morton and some other hospital staffers rolled George into another treatment room.
Dixie guided Johnny over to some chairs in the hallway. Cap, Chet and Marco appeared from nowhere it seemed, and they helped Johnny to sit down as Dixie dashed off back into the treatment room. Someone handed Johnny a cup of water, but he could hardly hold it. Hands patted him on the back and shoulders in comfort. He handed the cup of water back after taking a sip, and then he just sat there trying to clear his head.
"I hate this day." Johnny said after a few moments. "I think I'm gonna be sick."
Cap helped Johnny up. "I'll take you to the men's room. Come on."
In the men's room, Cap leaned against the wall as he waited for his junior paramedic to compose himself after losing his breakfast.
"Sorry, Cap. I usually have a much stronger stomach than this." Johnny said, as he began to rinse out his mouth and wash his face.
"No apologies necessary, pal. You're a human being. Roy's your friend and your partner. Truth be told, I'm not feeling too spiffy myself right now."
"I've seen all kinds of things at these accidents, but this time, especially after the first three were fatalities, I was scared to death how we'd find him. Then I was so happy to find his pulse! But then when we uncovered him…. "
He couldn't even finish the sentence. Johnny turned and went right back into the stall. Cap blew out a heavy sigh and shook his head. He hated to see his men suffer. It really had been a bad day for them all.
"Ow!" cried Johnny from the stall.
"Oh, it's my leg. I burned it a little at that fire before. I almost forgot about it."
"Johnny, I'm gonna stand you down for the rest of the shift. You obviously aren't up to treating anyone else today. When things settle down, you can go home. Okay, pal?"
"Uhhhh….. okay, thanks Cap. But, I think I'll hang around here with Roy, at least until Joanne shows up."
When Cap and Johnny returned, they saw Mike, Chet, Marco, Tom and Charlie all waiting at the chairs.
"What's the word?" asked Cap.
"He's gonna need surgery for internal bleeding." Tom reported. "He's getting his head and leg x-rayed right now. Brackett stitched his head wound."
"Is he conscious?" Johnny asked.
"In and out. At least now he's getting some blood. Was a little scary there for a moment." Tom admitted.
"Johnny, we can run back to the station to look for that phone number if you want." Charlie offered.
"That would be great, Charlie. I think her last name is MacKenzie."
"Okay. We'll let you know." Charlie and Tom left.
Brackett came out of the treatment room and walked up to Roy's co-workers.
"Doc, how's he doing?" Johnny asked.
"He's holding on. We'll be taking him up to surgery in a few minutes. It's a good thing you got him here quickly. He'd lost a lot of blood. Is his wife here yet?"
"We haven't been able to reach her. She's staying at her mother's while Roy's house is being fumigated. Roy was going to stay with me, but it looks like he'll be here now."
"He'll be a guest here for several days. Let me know when you reach her, okay?"
"Sure, Doc. Thanks."
Brackett turned to go, but then stopped for a moment and looked at Johnny.
"What happened here?" Brackett indicated Johnny's hand, which was now bruising.
"Believe it or not, this is from Roy squeezing my hand on the ride here." He held out his hand for Brackett to inspect.
"Can you flex it?"
"Yeah…" Johnny moved his fingers.
"Hmm. Well, take some aspirin if you need it. You can see Roy as soon as the X-ray tech is done."
Johnny stepped into Treatment Four and found Roy lying quietly on the exam table. His head had been re-bandaged, and his color was not as pale as before. IVs and blood were hooked up for him. Definitely improvements from when he was brought in, but Johnny still didn't like to see his partner this way.
"Roy?" Johnny said softly, as he took his hand again. Roy opened his eyes and smiled at Johnny.
"Hey Johnny. Thanks for helping me out."
"You seem a lot better now. How do you feel?"
"Like I've been in a wreck. I guess they're gonna take me upstairs."
"Yeah. I'll be waiting for you. Cap called in a replacement for the squad."
"Are YOU okay?" Roy was suddenly worried about his partner. "Why aren't you going back to work?"
"Don't worry about me, I'm fine. Looks like they gave you something for the pain."
"I guess so. I don't know. They must have…."
"We're still trying to find your mother-in-law's phone number so that we can call Joanne."
"It should be in my locker. Possibly in my car, but I'm pretty sure I've got a little phone book in my locker."
"A little black book?" Johnny teased.
"No, that would be in your locker, Junior." Roy teased back.
Johnny's HT beeped. "Squad 18 to HT 51." Charlie's voice said.
"HT 51, go ahead Charlie." Johnny answered.
"Johnny, we've got that phone number for you. "
"Great. Just a sec." Johnny took out a pen and small writing pad from his pocket. "Go ahead."
"Myrna MacKenzie. 714-555-2849."
"Copy that. Thanks Charlie."
"You tell Roy to get better quick." Charlie insisted, and Roy smiled.
"He heard you. 51 clear."
"Mrs. MacKenzie? This is John Gage from LA County Fire Department. Can I speak to Joanne DeSoto please?"
"Oh yes. Just a moment."
"Johnny? Is Roy all right?"
"He's gonna be fine, but he's here at Rampart and we need you to come up."
"Oh no! What happened?"
"Joanne, he's going to be fine, calm down."
"Okay, okay. What happened?"
"He was transporting a patient and the ambulance was hit by another car. He's been injured, but he's going to be okay. I was just talking to him a minute ago. Now he does have to have surgery, so we need you to come up here right away, okay?"
"Yes, Johnny, I'll be there as soon as I can. It'll take me about 40 minutes or so from here. "
"He might be in surgery when you get here. Are the kids in school?"
"Yes, but my mother can pick them up. I'll leave right now."
"Okay, Joanne. I'll see you soon."
"Thanks for calling, Johnny. Bye."
Johnny paced back and forth in the waiting area near the operating rooms. He was worried. Roy had been taken into surgery about 15 minutes earlier. Johnny was hoping Joanne would make it here before they took him in, but it wasn't to be. Now all he could do was wait. He sat down and started flipping through a magazine.
Joanne finally stepped off the elevator. They saw each other right away. Johnny stood up, and Joanne quickly walked up to him and they hugged each other tightly. Then they both sat down. Johnny held both of her hands in his.
"Tell me… how is he really?" she asked.
"Well, he was hurt pretty bad, but I think the worst is over. He lost a lot of blood, but they've transfused him so he's in good shape with that. He has a concussion, and broken leg. They suspect some internal bleeding, which is why they've got him in surgery now. "
"How did he look?"
"Pale. But better than when they first brought him in here." Johnny decided not to tell her about how much pain he had been in. "He has a pretty nasty gash on his forehead."
"Was anyone else hurt?" Joanne asked, innocently. Johnny was afraid she'd ask that.
"Yes. They, uh, lost the patient they were transporting… and both drivers." Johnny said quietly. Joanne put her hand to her mouth. "Roy and the other ambulance attendant survived."
"Oh my goodness! This was really bad…." She started to cry. Johnny put his arm around her, and just let her cry.
About 90 minutes later, a man in surgical scrubs approached them. Johnny and Joanne both stood up.
"Mrs. DeSoto?" He asked Joanne.
"Yes, is my husband all right?"
"He's in recovery now. You'll be able to see him in a few minutes. I'm Richard McCandless." He extended his hand to Joanne. She shook it.
"Oh yes, I'm sorry, Doctor McCandless. I'm so worried about Roy."
"He's going to be fine. There was no skull fracture. He does have a broken tibia and fibula, so we'll be putting a cast on his leg. He also had some internal bleeding, but we've repaired that damage. He's responding very well. He's in excellent physical condition otherwise, and that will be a great help with his recovery."
"Thank you so much, Doctor." Joanne shook his hand again.
"I'll send a nurse out to let you know when you can see him." He smiled at them both, and then returned to the surgical area behind double doors.
"I'm glad he doesn't have a skull fracture," said Johnny.
"Yes. Having a broken leg and recovering from surgery is more than enough for him to endure." Joanne touched Johnny's shoulder. "I'm going to go call my mother. Thank you for staying here with me, Johnny." She hugged him again.
The next day, Roy was in a regular room. His leg was now in a cast. He was in generally in good spirits, thanks to the pain meds, but was sad to hear that Hal had died and that they had lost the patient they were transporting. Johnny was with him, now wearing jeans and a red print shirt since it was his day off.
Hank Stanley, Mike Stoker, Marco Lopez, Chet Kelly, Charlie Johnson and Tom Dwyer all came for a visit. They were all relieved to see Roy on the mend. Joanne came by with Chris, Jenny and her mother, Myrna. It was almost a party atmosphere. Dixie also dropped in several times during the day, as well as Dr. Brackett, Dr. Early and Dr. Morton. The excitement of all the visitors was starting to wear Roy out, so Dixie politely shooed everyone out after Joanne and the family left. Except for Johnny, of course. Dixie said he could stay as long as he lets Roy fall asleep.
When they were alone, Johnny stood next to Roy's bedside.
"You gave me a real scare yesterday, partner. Don't do that again, okay?"
"I'll try my best. Thanks for being here, Johnny. Means a lot to me."
"You just heal up fast so you can come back to the station."
"Who's your new partner gonna be? Not Brice, I hope."
"I think Charlie and Tom are going to alternate at first. They both want to work some more overtime. I think they'll have to find someone else for me after that. It'll probably be Brice, but I'll deal with him when the time comes. Don't you worry."
"I'll work extra hard at getting better. I think I'm gonna go to sleep now." Roy was getting groggy.
"Okay. I'll see you soon." Johnny watched as Roy drifted off to sleep. He was so grateful that his partner and friend had survived such a horrific accident. He was so lucky to have Roy in his life. He hoped that nothing like this would ever happen to him again.
Johnny was about to leave, but then decided to stay with Roy, even though he was sleeping. Johnny sat down in the chair by his bed, and soon was asleep himself.