Accident Scenes: Do You Always Offer Assistance? - page 6

by JW2011

10,999 Views | 82 Comments

Ok, so I have read what many have felt their obligation would be on the scene of an accident, but what would you do if you caused the accident, hitting a pedestrian, country road, EMS 10 minutes or more away, obvious head injury,... Read More


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    When I was an EMT, and living in NY state, I approached an upside down car on the median of an interstate. A nurse was already there. I introduced myself, and told her I was an EMT. (I even had the official license plates on my car) She responded by saying, "You're the real deal. I'll let you handle this one." I then went to the car, saw the driver covered in red. I began to examine him when he embarrassedly said; "It's spaghetti sauce. I'm okay." That incident made a great memory for me.
    LearningByMistakes and GrnTea like this.
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    JW, I am deeply ashamed of my flippant and irrelevant responses to your post. I had no idea that you were referring to such a heart breaking personal tragedy. If I had, I would not have posted the comments that I did. Please forgive my inappropriate tone, used in ignorance. God bless you and your family.
    GrnTea, Esme12, and JW2011 like this.
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    IMO I couldn't live with myself if I didn't stop. I am not judging others either. This is just me. I took an oath to unselfishly help others and that applies to my personal life as well as professional. OP....I am sorry that she/he didn't do the right thing & I am sorry for what you & your family are going thru at this time.
    JW2011 likes this.
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    CountryRat, that's ok, I understand that you didn't know. I have to tell you though, that your post made me cry, as that is more of an apology that I will probably ever get from this woman that hit and killed my son! I am a forgiving person, but it's hard to do when someone doesn't ask to be forgiven...
    Thank you.
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    Well, you know, I think that is why I am having such a hard time with what she didn't do, as I know there is no way, particularly if I knew I was in anyway responsible that I wouldn't do whatever I could. I am a GNA that has worked with Hospice patients, private duty mostly, and don't claim to know anywhere near what most here do, but my experiences, particulary in seeing death and dying in that field, would have helped me to keep my calm in this situation. I know I could have checked for a pulse or breathing without having to move him. In her job, she has that experience and more on an RN level. Even without that, I know I would have been on my knees in prayer while calling 911, and would have laid hands on him to at least pray.

    Do you think that the EMS operator would have asked her to check his vitals if she had been able to calm herself? I didn't think to ask them that.

    Quote from 1pinknurse
    IMO I couldn't live with myself if I didn't stop. I am not judging others either. This is just me. I took an oath to unselfishly help others and that applies to my personal life as well as professional. OP....I am sorry that she/he didn't do the right thing & I am sorry for what you & your family are going thru at this time.
    Last edit by JW2011 on Oct 17, '12
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    edited: initially responded frankly without having read the entire thread; decided the comment would not add anything valuable to the root of the OPs query.
    Last edit by BlueDevil,DNP on Oct 18, '12 : Reason: prudence
    GrnTea, Meriwhen, Ruas61, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from JW2011
    Well, you know, I think that is why I am having such a hard time with what she didn't do, as I know there is no way, particularly if I knew I was in anyway responsible that I wouldn't do whatever I could. I am a GNA that has worked with Hospice patients, private duty mostly, and don't claim to know anywhere near what most here do, but my experiences, particulary in seeing death and dying in that field, would have helped me to keep my calm in this situation. I know I could have checked for a pulse or breathing without having to move him. In her job, she has that experience and more on an RN level. Even without that, I know I would have been on my knees in prayer while calling 911, and would have laid hands on him to at least pray.

    Do you think that the EMS operator would have asked her to check his vitals if she had been able to calm herself? I didn't think to ask them that.
    Why not write her a letter. Even if you don't send it. It might help you to get it all out of your soul and on paper. I am not defending her behavio..... but one thing that nursing has taught me is that you never know what someones personal burdens are that cause one behavior over the next. The the truth is always stranger than fiction......and the only predicable thing about humans is that humans are unpredictable.

    I have seen seasoned Firefighters, Police, EMT's, nurses absolutely freak out/freeze/breakdown become incapacitated by some extreme horror in front of them. They may have been doing the job for years and years and seen horrible things the that one thing at that one moment..... the stars align......and they freeze, breakdown, panic. Even when you are exposed to these things on a regular basis...you just pray every time that you have the strength to do it again.

    I have done search and rescue.....I have seen some terrible things. I remember on one occasion my seasoned highly trained dog refused to get out of the car. She took one look outside and retreated. It took me several minutes and allowing her to recoup, take in the scene.....for the actual reason for the disaster was man made......before she dercided to come with me. I actually think she decide to search because she feared for me and not the love of the search.....for the first time EVER she hesitated. I was stunned....and forthe first time....she was afraid.

    You just don't know. I don't know what your sons injuries were but there are injuries that just cannot be survived. I am not so sure even if she took a pulse there would be any change in the outcome for your son. There is no way on a dark road vitals can be taken. Even if she had.....that doesn't change the injuries that were fatal. Maybe she doesn't know how to pray.

    You deserve an apology....you really do. From the bottom of my heart I wish I could make her face you. This may sound crazy.......call Dr. Phil. Write him a letter. See if he can her you get the closure that you need. See if he can arrange a meeting with her so you can let her "know your anguish" so you can move on........he has done it before. But at least write him .....he maybe able to help.

    Again, you have my heartfelt sympathies. Your pain is palpable........I wish you peace.
    JW2011 likes this.
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    Not to defend the RN who struck your son, but I would like to relay my expearences. I am a nurse and an EMT. I have answered over 600 emergency calls. Both times I have been involved in accidents, I have not been able to perfectly relay my location. Accidents are very disorientating, and even Uninjured parties can be in shock. I was in the ambulance when a vehicle crossed the double yellow and struck us. I have very little memory of what happened after the accident. I know I was wondering around the scene, Uninjured but confused. I didn't even have a head Injury, I was simpily in shock. I have listened to the tapes of me on the radio giving incorrect location and requesting a single bls ambulance. Thank God for the fire captan who was following us to the call, she was relaying correct information and asked for the four ambulances that were required. I know you blame the nurse for not acting, but I urge you to consider that even trained individuals may not proform to the level you expect, and leagally mandating nurses to proform skills they are not trained in, or due to circumstances cannot proform may cause more harm then good. I'm deeply sorry for your loss, and I cannot tell you what to do with your feelings against this woman. I can only relay my expearence and hope it gives some perspective.
    GrnTea, JW2011, and jt43 like this.
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    I too am sorry for the tragic loss of your beloved son.

    But in the more general context of the title of the post...

    No, I do not stop. Our crazy litigious society just creates too much risk.

    I evaluate the scene...if people are milling about, even bloody but obviously in no imminent danger, I call 911.

    If I feel that there is a life in dire straits well then I stop and do what I can.

    We just must be very careful to stay within our scope of practice.....its really tricky....
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    I did face her, she came to my home, and I welcomed her, even held her hand as I asked for the truth.. what I learned that day was that she didn't apply brakes until after she had hit him, that was the first I knew that, as the police had made it sound like she had attempted to stop and couldn't stop in time, big difference... anyway, she told me she had a miscarriage as a result of the crash, and a week later I found out that was nothing but a LIE, one that she repeated to the investigating officer. Later she corrected the information to them, but they didn't see that as a reason to not be able to trust her words, and basically based their investigation on her interpretation of what happened, as there were no other witnesses.

    She showed no remorse, just kept repeating she didn't see him, and when I asked what she did for him, she spoke of having trouble finding her phone, and said there was nothing to do, that she knew he was gone. She didn't mention freaking out or not being able to tell EMS where she was. It was months later that we learned there was alcohol and drugs in the car. Lack of laws, poorly organized investigation, let her off scott free.

    I have often said, and continue to feel that I wish this had been an elderly person with failing eyesight, that would honestly just say they didn't see him in time, and they were SORRY! Instead I have someone that got her vehicle fixed and continues to ride by our home, knowing how much it upsets us. That is only a drop in the bucket of things she has done since, very cold and deliberate. Her friends, and my acquaintances, have said that she has made it all about her, never talking about the effect it has had on our family.

    I don't think she would go on Dr. Phil's show, she has WAY too many skeletons in her closet.


    Quote from Esme12
    Why not write her a letter. Even if you don't send it. It might help you to get it all out of your soul and on paper. I am not defending her behavio..... but one thing that nursing has taught me is that you never know what someones personal burdens are that cause one behavior over the next. The the truth is always stranger than fiction......and the only predicable thing about humans is that humans are unpredictable.

    You just don't know. I don't know what your sons injuries were but there are injuries that just cannot be survived. I am not so sure even if she took a pulse there would be any change in the outcome for your son. There is no way on a dark road vitals can be taken. Even if she had.....that doesn't change the injuries that were fatal. Maybe she doesn't know how to pray.

    You deserve an apology....you really do. From the bottom of my heart I wish I could make her face you. This may sound crazy.......call Dr. Phil. Write him a letter. See if he can her you get the closure that you need. See if he can arrange a meeting with her so you can let her "know your anguish" so you can move on........he has done it before. But at least write him .....he maybe able to help.

    Again, you have my heartfelt sympathies. Your pain is palpable........I wish you peace.
    Last edit by JW2011 on Oct 18, '12


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