Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 25628

Her Story: I Stepped In to Help Two Car Accident Victims When Nobody Else Did


The traffic crawled down Route 206; slow enough that I hardly had my foot off the brake as my car rolled forward. I was driving two friends back to school from my house, but at the rate we were moving, it would take an hour to get to the gate just 100 yards ahead.

I squinted through the windshield, turned the radio down and tried to make out the roadblock up ahead. Sophie leaned forward, asking, “Do you guys see the crowd?” From the backseat, Gina rolled down her window and leaned out to try and make sense of the massive group gathering down the street. I inched the car closer, and finally made sense of the scene. “They were hit!” I blurted out. “There are two people and they were hit by a car!”

Without hesitating, I maneuvered the car to the side of the road and threw open my door. I tossed Sophie my wallet and keys and took off sprinting. “Where are you going?” she hollered after me. “I need to go help them!” I yelled over my shoulder, weaving in and out of the people who flooded the sidewalk and street around the victims.

In July of 2013, I became a Certified Emergency Medical Technician. I take great pride in the social responsibility afforded to me in this role. As an EMT, I have the opportunity to devote myself to work that combines my passion for medicine with my desire to serve. Being an EMT requires a tremendous commitment and intensive training, but it has been a uniquely challenging and rewarding endeavor. The day I received official confirmation of my certification, I was thrown into a situation that tested my skills and my commitment. It was without a doubt one of the most formative experiences of my entire life.

I ran up to the police officer trying to control the swelling crowd, and yelled over the sirens and voices, “I’m an EMT. Is there anything I can do to help?” He looked at me and nodded, pointing to the two victims lying motionless on the pavement. I kneeled down next to the elderly couple and felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. I turned and saw a woman in a pink hat, anxiously wringing her handkerchief in her hands. “We were on our way to Yom Kippur services,” she stammered. “Are they going to be okay?”

I grew up in a small, tight-knit church community. My congregation was its own little family, and we shared everything: our struggles and fears, as well as our thanks and triumphs. Being so open and invested in the lives of others instilled in me a sense of compassion and loyalty to others, strangers or family. My faith and my training as an EMT brought me to the only honest answer to the woman’s question: “I am going to do everything I can.”

I scanned the bodies of the two victims to decide who had more emergent injuries, and began a full assessment. I leaned over the elderly woman and assured her that she was being taken care of. I looked up quickly and scanned the crowd. I recognized students, a few teachers, and owners of stores along the street. At the same time, I was completely alone; I was the only person who had stepped up to help the elderly couple.

Continuing to assess the injuries of both patients, I asked them questions to keep them alert and oriented. I heard a man say, “I’m a surgeon.” I turned towards his voice, but he faded into crowd. The policeman spoke over his radio to the ambulance en route. They were still fifteen minutes away. I asked the patients about their medical history, committing everything to memory so my hands were free to care for them.

Another voice made its way to my ears, this time a woman’s. She kneeled next to me. “I’m a nurse,” she explained. “How can I help?” She was more than three times my age with undoubtedly more medical training. Without moving my eyes from the patients, I instructed her on how to stabilize the elderly woman to prevent further injury. She respected me as the Incident Commander (the individual directing an emergency response), asked me questions, and kept the crowd from coming closer as I treated the man. I heard sirens approaching, and I worked to keep the patients calm. “The ambulance is on its way,” I said to the victims. “You’ll be out of here soon, I promise.”

Why did I say that? I was a 17-year-old kid surrounded by a community of strangers, and in a way I was predicting their future. That simple promise to the victims was a small gesture of hope to them, but meant a great deal to me—it reaffirmed a personal obligation to lead the life of a good citizen. As a trained Emergency Medical Technician, I honor my oath to “serve unselfishly and continuously in order to help make a better world for all mankind”—the code of conduct every EMT swears to adhere to. Becoming an EMT has woven me deeper into the fabric of my community. It fulfills one of my self-prescribed duties as a citizen and enabled me to make that promise to the strangers lying beside me.

When the ambulance arrived, I rose from my knees and helped the transporting EMTs carry the patients to the ambulance, rattling off my findings to help them take over treatment. When the ambulance drove away, I brushed the gravel from my knees. A sudden surge of stimuli flooded my senses. In that moment I felt the bruises from being on the ground, smelled the burnt rubber on the pavement, heard the nervous voices of the crowd, and saw hundreds of people that gathered on the street.

I squeezed my way to the sidewalk to where Sophie and Gina waited, and a man I recognized as a teacher approached me. “I hear you’re a hero!” he exclaimed, extending his hand to shake mine. I met the gesture and my face grew hot with embarrassment. “I’m not a hero, sir. It’s what I’m trained to do,” I explained. That was the truth.

With two hundred hours of training, I am no longer a helpless bystander or passing stranger. Other people on the street walked by and congratulated me, shook my hand, and thanked me for my actions. I tried to not appear so embarrassed as we headed back towards campus. I felt awkward receiving the attention, yet it allowed me to appreciate that other people considered me part of their community, a welcoming I was proud to have earned.


Do you have a story to share? Submit your story to Her Story!

Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 25628

Latest Images

Trending Articles

Latest Images