I have always reflexively helped others. No matter how big or small the action, I am driven to help others; open doors, share umbrella, let others go first at the store if they have fewer items, and have received a prestigious Magnet Award for compassion.
I was driving home, north bound on a 6 lane highway. A pickup truck dodged a semi which was switching lanes. A huge wreck, involving 5 other cars, unfolded in front of me. By reflex only, I was able to maneuver through the wreck and pulled over 100 feet past the pile up. Immediately, I ran to a car which was upside down. I got someone to help by holding pressure on a big cut above the woman's left ear, then, with help, got her and a large, unconscious man, both upside down, out of the car and sat them against the median. I then went to the four other cars to check if anyone else was hurt badly. Fortunately, no one else was in serious condition. It all took just a few minutes.
In the mean time, the southbound traffic had stopped. I looked over and saw a group of 12 people, out of their cars and standing in a circle about 15 feet away from a young man, bloody and contorted, lying still on the pavement. I asked a couple different people what had happened. A young man had gotten out of his car to cross the median and help, when a car drove along the inside lane, very fast, to get around the stopped traffic. The "good Samaritan" was hit by the car, launching him high in the air. He lay where he dropped. Everyone said he was dead; several had checked. But a feeling inside me said "I didn't check him. Can they be certain he is dead?"
He was covered in blood with arms and legs twisted and his head almost to his chest. I felt for pulses at different spots and felt nothing. Then I checked the carotid artery once again. I realized at that moment, I was feeling for a normal pulse. When I felt again with this in mind, I thought I felt a very weak and rapid heart rate of about 160. I knew I was not supposed to move his head, but I saw no other way to hopefully open his airway. With my elbow, I pushed his chin upwards. He then coughed out a big clot, and started taking rapid, shallow breaths.
By then, the ambulances were driving up. It had already been reported on TV and radio there was a fatality. So when I motioned to the ambulance driver, he shook his head no, and pointed to the other crash victims. I yelled, became very animated, and indicated to the ambulance driver this person was alive and needed help first, knowing I had done triage on all the others already. He started to ignore my request, when I shouted, peppered with profanity, to get over here right now! He understood what I was trying to say and did in fact, attend to the man thought to be dead. Once they took over, I left the scene and walked back to my car. Adrenaline began to wear off and I felt as if i weighed 1000 pounds; I could hardly move.
The news touted him "the good Samaritan". He was admitted to a local ICU. Some foretasted he wouldn't make it. His injuries were extensive and chances of full recovery were minimal.
Due to the impeccable doctors and care of nurses, he did survive. In fact, he walked out of the hospital after many months with minimal side-effects.It was a big deal when he was released from the hospital; covered by all the news stations, honoring the "Good Samaritan". I smiled to myself, happy I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time, to follow my instincts, and knowing a young man had his whole life in front of him.
All credit goes to:
St. John's Mercy Hospital, St. Louis MO, Dr. Rob Taylor, and all the nurses, respiratory care technicians, skin care RN, and other specialists.
Submitted by Charlie O