ST. LOUIS — Our first responders are the first to hear screams of terror, the first to pump on a child's chest. The first to witness utter pain streaming down many faces.
These high stress situation becomes even harder when the life they are trying to save still hasn't made it to the second grade.
Helen Sandkuhl is an Administrative Director for Regional EMS Services at SSM Healthcare and looks over 40 EMS agencies.
First responders are used to dealing with tragedies, but now they are battling trauma like they never have before.
"These guys here run call after call after call and it's very exhausting. But to run call after call after call and have tragedy with each call, it takes a toll," Sandkuhl said.
Sandkuhl said that when children under the age of 10 are in these situations, it's usually because they find a gun and accidentally shoot themselves.
But this summer, it's different. In less than 90 days, 11 children were shot at and killed.
"With first responders, no matter if you're doing it one year or 20 years, you are always going to have that one case that will never leave your heart," Sandkuhl said.
And for city paramedic Laticha Vaughn, that one case might've been last night. She was there for 7-year-old Xavier Usanga, but sadly, did not survive.
It was all caught on tape during an episode of A&E's live rescue where her emotional plea was recorded as she spoke to her dad.
Sandkuhl said that many of the first responders tend to have someone to debrief.
"For the few that do not, that's where we have issues depression using drugs alcohol, trouble sleeping, eating, there's a lot of things that occur if you don't get help," she said.
I'm told for some of these men and women may feel like they could've done more.
But Sandkuhl said they can only do so much.
"The majority of the cases, these guys are right on the spot, they have done everything they you could've done to make this a good outcome," she said.