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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Importance of Seat Belts

Last Friday, our unit released us early from the clinic (at Camp Edwards) so Chris and I decided to drive back to Boston for the evening. We threw our bags in the car and headed north. About twenty minutes outside the city, we noticed traffic was completely stopped in the southbound lane across the median rails. The freeway was empty for at least a mile, and a seeminly invisible wall prevented any cars from moving. As we neared the scene, we noticed a car smashed into the guardrail, two people huddled on the shoulder, and a man flopped facedown in the middle of the freeway.

Chris and I pulled over and jumped over the rails, still in our military uniforms. We found out later that the man lost control of his car, rammed into the median and was ejected face-first into the road. Chris and I had no medical equipment with us but felt obligated to help - he was gurgling on his own blood. I stabilized his spine while Chris rolled him over, and then I opened his airway. One eye was completely obliterated from his face skidding on the pavement, and his other eye was open, pupil dilated and unresponsive. I held his head, keeping his airway open, but he was breathing in gasps from a bloody mouth. A first responder arrived with minimal equipment, and we put in an airway and started bagging him with a bag-valve mask. By the time the ambulance arrived and the paramedics took over, we had lost his pulse and initiated CPR.

Even though I'm a military medic, I've never needed to respond to such severe trauma. We receive trauma training but with little application. We usually see dehydration, poison ivy, maybe burns at the worst. Chris has more experience from working as a laboratory technician in the E.R. at Regions Hospital.

I read in the Boston Globe yesterday that the man died at the hospital. I think he must have been a correction's officer at a prison because he was wearing a bullet proof vest, but I don't know much else about him.

3 Comments:

Blogger Fresh Footprints said...

Erin, I keep your blog on my favorites list and check it often. I'm so glad you and Chris were there to help and put your training into practice, although such a sad ending. Maybe he got to hear from a loved one or say a prayer or two thanks to both of you.

10:54 AM  
Blogger The Charlebois said...

Yikes - that must have been crazy. I hope you and Chris are okay after that as well.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

Wow- what an experience. I am sorry you two had to witness such a terrible scene, but I am glad you were able to stop and do what you could. I am sure it is comforting to his family that these two good Samaritans stopped to help their loved one in his hour of need. I hope you two are doing okay.

1:28 PM  

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