Chuck was keen to treat the patient but the fire crew couldn’t get the patient out of the car because his legs were trapped under the front seat. The fire crew pryed open the driver’s door with the Jaws of Life and within minutes the driver was strapped to a spinal board and bundled into the ambulance.
Stuart backed away from the scene and carefully manoeuvred into a northbound lane of Crowchild, turned the lights and siren on, and accelerated to eighty kilometres. Chuck thought that it was fortunate for their passenger that they had a fairly direct route to the Foothills.
Chuck began an examination of the driver of the car starting with pulse, breathing, and obvious injuries. She documented the patient’s name and status. In summary, the patient had suffered trauma to the head and neck, extremity, chest, abdominal trauma and had an altered mental status. She then documented a summary of the conditions of the vehicle when they first encountered it. The fact that the vehicle had a head on collision with a concrete structure on a highway. That the speed of the vehicle was unknown at the time of the collision. She documented the significant damage to the front of the car; the fact that the patient was wearing a seat belt; there was no obvious deformity to the steering wheel; and, no airbag was deployed. Maybe Chuck did not realize it or she maybe she was simply answering questions thoroughly but the 1992 Oldsmobile is not equipped with airbags.
Chuck turned her attention to her patient. She taped a gauze strip over the wound above the patient’s right eye. And, then applied a large gauze pad to the avulsion1 on his left chin.
Chuck noted that the patient was not responsive to verbal stimulus but was responsive to painful stimuli. The patient’s airway was open but he had increased respiration. The good news was both his lungs were clear and he had a rapid strong regular radial pulse. There was no visible deformity to the extremities. There was no grating sound when she pressed on his chest. The patient’s pelvis was also stable on paliptation.
Chuck took a moment from recording the patient’s history to do something she always did with unconscious patients. Chuck took the patient’s left hand in her two hands and began to rub it gently. Then she said what she always said in cases like this, “You’re going to get through this. You will be fine.” She rubbed his hand gently for a few seconds more and then got back to taking and recording his vitals.
1An avulsion is a tearing away of a body part accidently
Excerpt from CRASH! Memories of a Healing Journey, All Rights Reserved, Copyright Lyle T. Lachmuth