If trained and willing aid had been enough to save bicyclist Christophe Le Canne, he might be in intensive care today at a South Florida hospital. "He was breathing. He had a pulse," Broward medic Jose Diaz said of what he found perhaps five minutes after a car hit Le Canne in the Rickenbacker Causeway bike lane and slammed him against the concrete wall that protects joggers and walkers.
"I could tell immediately that this was no ordinary injury," Diaz said. "His legs were broken. He had a massive head injury. He was bleeding fast."
Diaz is a cyclist himself, and a South Miami resident. Another medic, from Miami-Dade County, was riding with Diaz's club on Sunday when they came upon Le Canne's crumpled body on Bear Cut Bridge on the road to Key Biscayne. A physician stopped, too, and they all tried to help Le Canne breathe. But the bleeding from his mouth and ears continued.
"We had no tools to work with," Diaz said. "No airway tube. Nothing. It's a shame. It's hard for me to accept."
It took 22 minutes for a Miami-Dade crash truck to reach Bear Cut in response to the 911 calls. Diaz was pleading with the 911 operator to send a rescue team from Key Biscayne, or even Miami. "I told them, 'I know what I'm seeing here. I've been a medic 15 years.' "
Twenty-two minutes is pretty good time from the South Miami station from which the truck was dispatched along U.S. 1. Imagine how much less it would have taken from Station 15, two miles out Crandon Boulevard from the bridge -- but closed at 8 a.m. Sunday, when the crash happened. Five days a week, or after 10 a.m. on Sunday, Station 15 could have taken the call. The station's duty hours were curtailed in December, part of the county's budget-cutting.
"I would really like to see the firemen back at Station 15," Diaz said.
The rescue crew, when it arrived on Sunday, worked fast and efficiently to take care of Le Canne. It proved futile, though. "He had lost his pulse," Diaz said. The trip to Jackson Memorial Hospital was a desperation effort, what you do in hopes of a miracle. This Sunday morning, there was none.
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For more about the matter, see The Miami Herald and Green Mobility Network.