Sometimes you can do nothing

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by KYZHunters » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:22 am

Yesterday, I was up in my barn doing the morning chores when I heard a wreck. Screeching brakes followed by a series of crunches. I'd heard it before, the sound of a rollover accident. I dropped,what I was doing and ran out of the barn to see a pickup truck in my front pasture. I hit 911 as I ran for the house to get Mrs. KYZHunters and grab our big first aid kit we keep by the door.

After alerting my wife, I hopped the fence and began the quarter mile run to the wreck. I could hear screaming and see at least one person had been ejected. I did a quick triage and found an adult male alert but complaining of a broken back and arm with no serious bleeding visible trapped in the cab. An adult female who'd been ejected. She was on her hands and knees screaming and had very bright blood streaming from her mouth. I found another adult female, also ejected, twisted almost in half, unconscious, with slow, labored breathing with a deep, gurgling sound.

I called 911 again to update and get an ETA. The operator said very clearly, "move no one!"

So, everyone breathing, no life threatening bleeding to stop, directed not to move anyone...treating for shock seemed like all we could do. We covered the victims with blankets, tried to keep them calm and began the 10 minute wait for the first professional to arrive. I felt like we should be doing more but all three seemed beyond our help.

All three were alive when the pros arrived but the worst died shortly thereafter. The EMS team did straighten the woman out and cleared her airway which we could have done but had been warned not to. The other two went out by helicopter leaving us wondering if we could have done more.

Article is below, your thoughts? ... 83683.html
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by Ad'lan » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:32 am

Treating for shock is not nothing.

Simply being there is a comfort that many people would wish for, and may alone make the difference.

You responded, you took actions following the instructions of a professional and you did good.
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by wamba » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:24 pm

That feeling that you could/should have done more is a crappy but natural one. Sometimes all you can do is make them comfortable and let them know their not alone. Like Ad'lan says that's no small thing.
One thing you might do is police up the sight for any scattered personal effects, even an insignificant object being returned can mean a lot to the survivors sometimes.
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by JayceSlayn » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:58 pm

Calling emergency services right away and providing them with details of the incident is also a lot more than nothing. If not you, how many more minutes would they potentially have to wait before someone else took the same action?

While some of the medical professionals on this board might have been able to start some interventions (in many cases, only given the proper equipment as well!), they weren’t there, and you were. Doing as much as you can, to the level of your abilities, is absolutely the right thing, and all that someone could ask for.

That being said, there are times when even an ambulance standing by isn’t going to be able to save someone. There are plenty of things that can happen to someone not wearing their seat belt in a rollover, that even if they somehow crashed right onto an operating table, they wouldn’t be able to save them.

I’m saddened by the outcome of the story, but it also serves as a terrible (and all too-common) reminder that a basic concept about “prepping” – preparing for the most common emergencies first – is sometimes too easy to overlook. Make full use of the safety mechanisms available to you whenever you can: look both ways and use crosswalks when crossing the street, wear seat belts, use handrails, etc., because nobody ever plans on having an accident. I know I sound like a corporate Safety Officer here, and I hate to make a point out of a tragedy, but I have to admit a reminder like this one serves me good too sometimes.
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by SCBrian » Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:29 pm

You say you did nothing. But I reckon you did more than 90% of the US could have/would have done. Sometimes our version of "Nothing" can be pretty damn significant...

Case in point, an accident a friend of mine was involved in in LA: ... sh-on-i-10
Videos taken by onlookers show several good Samaritans running toward the scene to help, but many only stopped to take pictures and videos of the scene.

"With social media as big as it is, people were more focused on that. Maybe they should have concentrated to see if there was anything they could do to help the situation instead of be the person that gets hits on Facebook or whatever the case may be," said Carson.
Take time to decompress, you were under stress as well even if you dont realize it. Feel free to talk about it as you need to. I was first on scene (My front yard) with a rollover and wrap around a tree / entrapment. When the girl regained consciousness all I could offer was to hold her hand, pressure on her wounds and reassure her until the professionals with the power tools could get there. Took me a week or so to sleep soundly again...
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by raptor » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:27 pm

I agree with the others. You did quite a bit. You saved their lives by reporting the crash. You comforted them as best you could and rendered aid without doing additional harm. Even trained MDs are required to first and foremost "do no harm".

That is a tremendous thing that you and your wife did.

Simply for perspective, a similar crash occurred near my farm a while back. All died because they were not found until about an hour after the crash.

The two who survived here are alive because of you.

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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by TheWarriorMax » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:37 pm

I feel for you.

You've done absolutely the right thing, yet a woman is dead because she wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

Neither was her daughter.

They are 100% and more responsible, not you.

Had they been buckled in - who knows
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by Close_enough » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:41 pm

About the only other thing I can think of is going up to the road and flagging down the ambulance. Aside from that, everything else you did was textbook perfect.

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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by norcalprep » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:23 pm

You absolutely did what you could. My friend's little brother died last year when the car he was in crashed. They were in a residential area in the evening when everybody was home. About a dozen people stood around recording with their phones, and only one person trying to get into the car, but it was too crumpled to open without jaws of life. He died gasping for breath in his seat, recorded from a dozen angles. People who try to help, like you, are heroes, no matter the final result. On behalf of many who lost loved ones from a car accidnet, thank you for your efforts.

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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by KYZHunters » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:55 am

First, thanks for all of the kind responses; it wasn't expected. I thought there would be a technical discussion on prioritization of care, airway clearing etc. The concern for our wellbeing is humbling.

Secondly, I avoided commenting on the seatbelt issue, but it was, no doubt, what allowed the ejections. Funnily, here in Kentucky several years ago, some lawmakers sought to get rid of our mandatory seatbelt laws. One lawmaker went so far as to call seat belts 'fancy' and 'unaffordable'. This, coupled with the fact that we still don't have a helmet law convinces me that there is a significant number of people you will never be able to help.

The old lady and I had an after action review, took inventory of our gear and procedures, and are moving on. Again, thanks for your thoughtful responses. Hearing from some of you who have been around as long as us or longer was the right medicine.
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by Ghostdog914 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:36 am

I know you feel you could have done more and have remorse. But having been in your situation 20+ times over the years I can tell you from watching a fellow first responder you'd feel a lot worse had your help caused a death. You provided comfort and prepped the ambulance for what they were getting ready for. Crap situation but good work on your end.
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by wolf_from_wv » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:46 pm

People die in hospitals surrounded by doctors and nurses and millions of dollars of technology.

Sometimes, the very best we can do won't be enough; so you try to keep them alive until the professional medical help arrives, or worst case, they fade away experiencing human contact and not alone on the "cold shoulder" of the road.
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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by feanor » Thu May 11, 2017 7:56 am

No seat belt for their child? Who the hell does that? Bad enough not wearing one yourself, even worse not wearing one when your kid's around to see and take after you when you're not around but actually driving your kid without a seat belt on, what the eff?

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Re: Sometimes you can do nothing

Post by majorhavoc » Thu May 11, 2017 12:25 pm

KYZHunters wrote: Screeching brakes followed by a series of crunches. I'd heard it before, the sound of a rollover accident.
That exact experience lives with me as well. To this day I absolutely cannot think/do/talk about anything if I hear the sound of screeching brakes. Time stops for me and all I can do is wait for that sickening crunch of metal and glass, followed by the screams. It only happened to me once when I was a college student, and that one time was more than enough. In my case, the driver was beyond help. It was his newlywed wife's screams that I was hearing as I ran towards the scene.

It's great that you were there for those people right away and able to lend assistance. Well done.

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