Our longtime traveler, Kathleen V., thought it was a normal Wednesday morning when she and her husband, Gary, left his mother’s house to run an errand. But instead of taking their typical route, Kathleen’s husband chose a different way – one that led them to an prodigious opportunity; an opportunity that Kathleen faces every day on the job as a nurse. An opportunity to make a difference.
Soon after starting their drive, Kathleen and Gary discovered a car that had just hit a tree. Gary pulled alongside the accident and called 911 while another driver and his passenger stopped to help. Immediately and without hesitation, Kathleen’s instincts kicked in as she ran to the driver’s side of the vehicle to access the damage. Kathleen found something to puncture the airbag and to cut the seatbelt to get a better look at the victim’s condition. She then directed the other driver to search for identification and retrieve a neck pillow from Kathleen’s own vehicle. After stabilizing the victim’s neck, Kathleen stayed with her patient to help keep the young woman calm and immobile until the ambulance arrived. Kathleen was also able to find the young woman’s cell phone and notify her family about the accident. Once help arrived, Kathleen assisted in moving the victim from the car and into the ambulance and then waited on scene until life-flight arrived. Kathleen’s fortuitous presence most likely saved the young woman’s life.
We asked Kathleen if she ever questioned her actions of stopping. Of course, the answer was “no”. Kathleen doesn’t see herself as a hero. She sees herself as a mother, a grandmother, and a nurse. If this victim had been her own child, she hopes that someone would do just as they all did.
She also stressed that she was part of a team – and although none of the other team members were medically trained, all participants had a significant and important part in this scenario – directing traffic, and helping to calm the victim.
One thing about nurses; they are never “off duty”. And boy, are we thankful!
And, we are so very thankful for Kathleen. We will never know for sure, but on that day, at that time, and on that seldom traveled route, Kathleen was this victim’s angel; and being the angel that Kathleen is, she would do it all over again.
Because isn’t that what nurses do?
(You can read more about Kathleen in our Featured Traveler for December)
Have a burning question? Email me (Greg).