WF and I set out to go buy some meat for the freezer today, in a snow storm, in reduced visibility, in our truck, and we really shouldn’t have been out driving. We didn’t get 3 miles down the interstate and came upon an accident, like we were less than a few minutes behind the actual impact. Our first visual was a F250 dual cab pickup facing westbound in the eastbound right shoulder next to a tree. Then we spied a lady walking around the vehicle with a long metal pole in her hands, just a bizarre scene. WF and I stopped and then backed down the shoulder parallel to the accident. When I bailed out of our truck the lady (passenger) was crying and pretty shocked out, I saw the airbag had deployed on the passenger side through the open door. I asked if she was ok? and she said yes. Was there any others in the vehicle? yes her husband was driving but couldn’t get out.
As I walked around the front of their truck, the wrecked vehicle, I saw the driver hanging partially out of what was left of the drivers side door. He was conscious, bleeding and pinned between the drivers side door, and the center console. When they lost control of the vehicle in the heavy snow they spun 180 degrees, and hit a tree in the area between the drivers door and the front tire. This caused the vehicles firewall and dashboard to come down on the drivers legs pinning them. The drivers seat and center console had both bent and shifted left about 8-12 inches pinning the driver further. The impact caused the drivers body to tear the door away from the frame breaking the window and sending every item that wasn’t tied down everywhere. None of the drivers airbags had deployed. I am assuming Ford does not have side curtain bags in their trucks.
In the first few minutes during my scene assessment a second vehicle had stopped and he was a local EMT, we both attempted to pull the driver door open. This mother just wouldn’t budge. Since the driver was lucent and talking we did a quick assessment of him and determined he wasn’t bleeding other than what flying glass did to his face. WF brought a blanket over and we covered the driver as best as we could to keep the heavy snow that was falling off him.
Now a second 911 call went out and the EMT told dispatch to expedite that we needed an extraction. My clock showed we had been stopped and still waiting for rescue at the 20 minute mark. WF had the passenger in our truck talking to her and calming her down. Being pretty helpless I spent the next 30 minutes or so talking to the driver, keeping him engaged. I found out he is a Vietnam Vet, 11B (infantry) and was in the 9th Infantry Division. I just tried to keep him engaged until rescue services arrived
Slowly, the fire and rescue trucks started to arrive. Now this next section could be construed as a condemnation of my areas local volunteer fire department, and maybe it is, but a key word to think about is volunteer here. Personnel were slow to arrive because of the weather and because? they are volunteers and were sitting at home when the call went out, I’ll give them that.
While I was waiting, and the victim was waiting more importantly, I will add I saw no sense of purpose or urgency from the rescue personnel, and they did absolutely nothing to communicate what they were doing for the driver. At one point one of the rescue personnel had an attitude with the driver/victim. Another example, a first responder told another to get in the passenger side and start an IV on the drivers right arm. No communication to the patient on what he was doing, I talked to the driver and let him know what was happening. IV guy wasn’t able to find a vein in the patients hand. I asked IV guy if he had trauma shears, he gave me a look like” wow what a great idea!” IV guy ran back to the rescue truck to retrieve his shears, cut the patients sleeve away and finally hit a vein. Again no communication to the patient. I tried to keep the patient apprised of what was happening and stay out of the way of the rescue personnel.
The local police told me to leave the scene and that I had done enough. WF and I reluctantly left after we helped get the passenger into a second ambulance and off to the hospital. I was pretty pissed off about the situation but that is for another posting.
Update: WF called the local hospital and spoke to the passenger, she is ok but her husband the driver was airlifted to the next largest Trauma center in our area and he is in ICU currently. No further status.
WF and did a AAR in the truck on our way to the butcher shop.We talked about the length of time it took for 1st responders to arrive. If there had been another accident in their AO it would have been a longer wait and extraction.
A couple things we did pretty good:
Got a second call into 911, told them an extraction was in need.
Removed the passenger from the scene and calmed her down. Gave her generic business card with our contact information. ($10 from vista print for 250 cards)
Did a assessment of the driver and kept him as comfortable as possible.
Our Trauma, first aid kit wasn’t needed but some things need to added.
Things we could have done better:
Been a bit more concise with our information with 911, build a checklist of sorts. Better communication
Keep more blankets, survival types in the truck.
Maybe some flares.
One thing of note, we were on a MAJOR interstate highway, and only myself and the local EMT stopped. Very sad if you ask me, no other motorists even attempted to render or offer aid in the 20 minutes or so until rescue arrived.