I first met John Lynch back in 1989. He was the 3-11 supervisor at Worcester City Emergency Ambulance. I was a paramedic student doing my field time. John was larger than life. A big man, brown suspenders holding up his pants and his badge pinned to his suspenders. We went out to a chest pain and brought the patient back to Worcester City Hospital. As we were cleaning up the truck he handed me the ECG from the Lifepack 5 and said ”what is this?” I handed it back to him and I said “I think it’s A-fib.” He handed it back to me and said “You better take another look” I spent the next three hours looking at that strip. No P waves, irregularly irregular, I had my calipers out. It was shift change and I gave the strip back to him and said, “It looks like A-Fib to me” And he gave me a wink and said, “it is, you need to be more confident kid”
Four months later, I was fortunate enough to be hired by WCEA. Worcester City Hospital was in it’s waning days. Sick time was viewed as use it or lose it so I had the opportunity to work tons of “Bova-time” on all shifts. Many of those shifts would be spent with John.
Anyone who has ever worked with John knows when it was time to take care of Carl. An elderly man that John looked after. You also knew that John never did an errand unless he was at work.
Time off was time off so why not make use of your down time in the city doing errands? John was a waking Worcester atlas. He knew every damn street in the city. We would be transporting a patient and he would stick his head in the window between the box and the cab asking “Where the f@#* are you going?” I often asked myself how the hell he did it. After 20 years in the city, I found out.
Occasionally, I would be assigned to dispatch. There was an old window that had been boarded up in the entrance to our quarters at City. And John took great delight in hitting that plywood, scaring the shit out of anyone unfortunate enough to be on the phones that shift. His notorious laughter immediately followed. Another favorite prank of John’s was slap you in the balls while you were waiting for someone to answer the door on a call. As you held tight, he would snicker and walk on by into the house.
It seemed like he knew everybody and everybody knew him. I joked with him that he should run for city council. I remember numerous old timers telling me about him and his brother. They were known as Red and Black Lynch. An Irish thing that I am yet to understand.
I learned a lot from him. Not the medical minutia but the more noble aspects of the job.
How it was an honor to be invited into someone’s home when they were at their worse. That you have chosen to be the one to help. To be the calm in the eye of a storm. I hope people speak as well of me when I am gone.
Rest in peace John.