Tuesday, September 3, 2013

God's Emergency Department

Saturday Night- Fremantle Street Chaplains

The first real incident occurred directly opposite the Newport Hotel near closing time. Myself and another Chaplain were sitting praying and talking on the bench opposite the pub. We had just discussed how Fremantle can appear quiet but can flare up in a moment's notice. Part of this due to the many spiritual undercurrents that Fremantle has. As a seaport Fremantle is like Corinth, many conflicting ideas merge from around the world, from hippies and backpackers to Italian Catholics, Fremantle is a spiritual melting pot. No sooner than finishing our conversation we heard a crashing sound and looked up to see a young woman spin around on her high heels as if in the air to then land crashing onto the road, about two meres from our feet.

She had been hit by a car.

Immediately we moved forward and surrounded her. I reassured the young lady thankfully she was conscious and breathing. She could also talk. I was most concerned about spinal damage and so told her not to move, then placed my Street Chaplain jacket over her bare legs. There was about 50 onlookers. Bouncers ran over and we informed them to ring ambulance. Some people tried to take her arm and I was quite forceful in telling them to move back, telling all I am a nurse and that she is not to be moved in case she has spinal damage. Then I would speak quietly to the girl again reassuring her. Some bystander of about 25 came over saying he was a doctor. I told him I am a nurse and you have been drinking so you are no good to me. Go away. The man seemed confronted (by the truth) and so stayed back. As always most out on the streets that are not part of any particular  helping agency are more annoyance than good. They may mean well, but more often than not can get in the way. 

Police came and allowed myself and the other Chaplain to manage the situation. Again it was very good interdisciplinary contact, as all were seeing Chaplains helping and in control. The ambulance arrived and took over, taking her to hospital. The young girl thanked us for our kindness and that we were there with her during it all. If we had not been present I am sure the outcome would have been much worse. God certainly had us at the right place at the right time. Later on I contemplated the reality of a human being who had been hit by a car and then landing at your feet, at the feet of a Street Chaplain that happens to be a nurse? I felt annoyed the following day that few seem to see the reality of such being God's doing and not coincidence, karma or luck. The sheer possibility of this happening is staggering when you think about it. Even the police were amazed at where she landed as they saw the whole incident on closed circuit tv! (Again God's doing).

15 minutes later outside Hungry Jacks (a burger restaurant) a fight erupted between two small groups of men. Both chaplains intervened as police were not present yet. We tried to keep the men apart however at one stage one man shoved another into the restaurant window, cracking the glass. Thankfully no punches were thrown and both myself and the other chaplain were right in the middle of the action when police came and broke the men apart forming two groups . Police took our details for both incidences and I sensed we gained their respect at being part of the solution. Including how we had stayed with one officer as he questioned three men.The two chaplains forming his backup until more officers arrived. The Senior Sgt spoke with us and good relations were built upon. 

Both incidences reaffirmed  how working in Fremantle means maintaining spiritual awareness, prayer and being vigilant. A lesson from God.

I also felt God gave me direct personal experience/tuition as I move my own career toward the Emergency Department. Last night I felt like I was in one on the streets. God's Emergency Department.

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