Rode up on first accident outside of hospital.... - page 2

Hey my fellow RN's! I need some advice. I was on my way home from my moma's house and rode up on a car accident. Medics were not on the scene yet. I pull over, get out of my car and head to... Read More

  1. by   dthfytr
    Quote from hiddencatRN
    Because pulling over is dangerous, and as OCNRN63 said, you were potentially setting yourself up to be an additional casualty. You were clearly motivated by a desire to help, but jumping in to a situation that you aren't trained to handle is dangerous to you and the people who might have to in turn rescue you.

    Did you look to see if there was any damage to the fuel tank, or leaking gasoline before approaching either car? It was raining- do you know how visible you were to other drivers? Had airbags deployed, and did you lean in to the car over the steering wheel?
    Good points all. "Scene safety" is always the first consideration for any responder, but for sake of argument we'll say you instictively did nothing to endanger yourself. I carry nothing but a pocket knife and trauma shears in my car. I'm adept at creating supplies from what's available, have seen exactly one car fire in 30 years, can apply direct pressure to severe bleeding (tourniquets are a bozo no-no, really). The knowledge that others are aware of the accident has a huge calming affect for the victims. I guess everybody decides for themselves if they should stop or not, knowing their own limits. I always stop and identify myself as a nurse. Hope this doesn't set off arguments or flames. Just MHO.
  2. by   KateRN1
    Call me an idiot, but I always stop if there are no other responders on the scene. Just a couple of weekends ago, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing a 2-year-old and his father struck by a car. Boy was on bike, dad was walking beside when somebody rolled through a stop sign and hit them as they were crossing. Knocked the kid off the bike and the dad to the ground. Before I could get to them, dad had picked the kid up off the street and taken him over to the sidewalk. Quick assessment told me dad was probably okay but kid was bleeding from the mouth. Dad kept trying to pick kid up and swing him around to calm him, tried to take helmet off, etc. It took me yelling at him to get it through, but I finally got the kid immobilized, checked pupils, ribs, worked my way down to his broken femur. Dad was talking about taking kid home, taking off helmet, getting kid a drink of water. I shudder to think what might have happend to the kid if no one with first aid training had been there. It was a solid 10 or 15 minutes before EMS finally showed up--and the station was only 2 miles away. I had no equipment with me, no gloves, not even a stethoscope, but believe I still made a difference in the outcome. Never underestimate the power of a calm person with some basic assessment skills. (I waited until everyone was gone before I freaked out on my husband.)
  3. by   shoegalRN
    Quote from OCNRN63
    The problem is, if someone wasn't OK, then what? Then you would have been in the position of being a licensed caregiver at the scene. You'd have basically had your hands tied with no equipment and no one else to help you. Good Samaritan laws may have covered whatever care you may have provided, but you'd have still been in a very complicated position. What if both people had been badly injured? Would you have felt confident in your ability to triage the situation?

    These are among the many reasons why I don't stop at accidents. I'll call 911, but stop? No. I know what my limits are.
    So, it's ok not to stop in the future? I am not trying to be smart, I'm asking because I was under the impression as a RN, you have an oligation to stop at an accident and the good samaritian laws will protect you.

    Next time, it's calling 911 as I drive right past.......
  4. by   General E. Speaking, RN
    In some rural areas you are required by law to stop (if I have my facts straight). This doesn't seem like the case. I'm on the fence. I guess it will depend on the situation. I am not one to hang stethoscopes from my rear view mirror, have the nursing license plates or be an all around Ranger Rick. I prefer to be a little more covert. I suppose instinct would take over and I would absolutely feel the need to stop if it wasn't a well-traveled area, the accident was bad enough that there were probably serious injuries and I thought I could do something useful.

    I am in a populated area but you never know. Luckily, I haven't been subjected to this situation.
  5. by   hiddencatRN
    Quote from afrocentricRN
    So, it's ok not to stop in the future? I am not trying to be smart, I'm asking because I was under the impression as a RN, you have an oligation to stop at an accident and the good samaritian laws will protect you.

    Next time, it's calling 911 as I drive right past.......
    Just be careful. If you do decide to stop, stay until EMS gets there.

    It's not just about getting sued- it's about making sure you are physically safe too.
  6. by   OttawaRPN
    The first rule of emergency first aid - survey the scene/assess hazards; take note of leaking fuel, fires, traffic, downed power lines - if you can't enter the area w/o risking your safety, don't do it. No brainer.

    Always get consent from conscious victims before touching them, for the unconscious casualty consent is implied as it's generally accepted that most people want to live.

    Has no one else taken emergency scene management? I'm surprised that some people could just walk away.
  7. by   hiddencatRN
    Quote from OttawaRPN

    Has no one else taken emergency scene management? I'm surprised that some people could just walk away.
    Everything I know about scene safety comes from being married to a paramedic It wasn't something that was covered in nursing school.
  8. by   kesr
    As a human being I cannot imagine NOT stopping to render basic first aid and comfort. Sometimes just keeping someone company until EMS arrives is all that is needed. I usually do not identify myself as a nurse. How did we become so self centered and paranoid that a person in distress can be ignored? The only times I have not stopped have been when there already were plenty of people at the scene.
  9. by   shoegalRN
    Quote from kesr
    As a human being I cannot imagine NOT stopping to render basic first aid and comfort. Sometimes just keeping someone company until EMS arrives is all that is needed. I usually do not identify myself as a nurse. How did we become so self centered and paranoid that a person in distress can be ignored? The only times I have not stopped have been when there already were plenty of people at the scene.
    I would have not stopped had there been someone at the scene.

    I would have felt guilty if I would have kept on driving and not atleast called 911. Nobody had stopped and I felt a desire and obligation to atleast make sure those involved were okay.

    I did not identify myself as a nurse.

    But now I'm learning I need to think a little bit wiser if this happens again. It was my first scene and I felt obligated to stop. I do regret leaving before EMS arrived, although I knew they were on the way.
  10. by   OCNRN63
    Quote from dthfytr
    Good points all. "Scene safety" is always the first consideration for any responder, but for sake of argument we'll say you instictively did nothing to endanger yourself. I carry nothing but a pocket knife and trauma shears in my car. I'm adept at creating supplies from what's available, have seen exactly one car fire in 30 years, can apply direct pressure to severe bleeding (tourniquets are a bozo no-no, really). The knowledge that others are aware of the accident has a huge calming affect for the victims. I guess everybody decides for themselves if they should stop or not, knowing their own limits. I always stop and identify myself as a nurse. Hope this doesn't set off arguments or flames. Just MHO.
    You also are highly experienced in this area and know what you're doing. There's a big difference here between your stopping at a scene v someone stopping who doesn't have that kind of expertise. I worked in the ED for a couple of years and I don't feel competent to stop at an accident scene.

    I think good intentions are wonderful, but they can get people in trouble.

    FWIW, my trauma shears are at home so I can whack open the stupid hard plastic packaging everything seems to be enveloped in these days.
  11. by   OCNRN63
    Quote from afrocentricRN
    So, it's ok not to stop in the future? I am not trying to be smart, I'm asking because I was under the impression as a RN, you have an oligation to stop at an accident and the good samaritian laws will protect you.

    Next time, it's calling 911 as I drive right past.......
    How would anyone know you're an RN, unless you have your car emblazoned with all sorts of RN gew-gaws? I'm unaware of any law requiring health care professionals to stop (at least in my state). It would be unenforceable.

    For the record, I didn't go for the specialty plates.
  12. by   shoegalRN
    I would like to thank everyone for their opinions. Most of the replies gave me a different prospective.

    I have decided if there is another scene where EMS is not there, I will call 911 from the car instead. I do have a desire to want to stop and help, but I want to do more good than harm.

    I will be looking into taking a First Responder Rescue class in the near future. I simply don't have enough experience to handle in the field emergencies.
  13. by   shoegalRN
    Quote from OCNRN63
    How would anyone know you're an RN, unless you have your car emblazoned with all sorts of RN gew-gaws? I'm unaware of any law requiring health care professionals to stop (at least in my state). It would be unenforceable.

    For the record, I didn't go for the specialty plates.
    This was just MY impression. I don't have any personalized plates on either one of my cars, so nobody would know I'm a RN unless they work with me.

    One of my nursing instructors told us this during our first semester of nursing school and it always stuck with me. I'll look into it more.

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