I Saved a Life!


Life has been a myriad of ups and downs, alternating between depression and trying to get through life after it was turned upside down 4 yrs. ago (read my first thread...) I have not worked as an RN since that day, despite many years in healthcare--EMT, CNA, LVN, Paramedic and finally RN. Life has been a black hole that I kept falling into but with the recent help of a therapist I have been making slow but steady progress.

Then yesterday as I was driving home from the grocery store I saw debris flying through the air ahead of me and traffic suddenly stopped. Two cars had hit head on on a 2 lane highway at high speed. When I walked up to the first car there was a man in the passenger seat with severe injuries--he had an almost amputation at the R shoulder joint and was not breathing. The door was ripped off so I leaned in and opened his airway and he slowly began to breath. I had a bystander climb into the driver side and hold his airway open. I took a jacket and yuck--lifted his arm (which was almost a foot longer than it should have been and hanging by soft tissue!) and applied pressure under what used to be his armpit and managed to slow the bleeding down to steady drips. The amazing part was he became conscious enough to answer simple questions...The ambulance finally arrived (rural area) and I gave them a quick rundown on him but sent them to check out the occupants of the other vehicle (I had already let 911 know to send a helicopter), which was down a steep embankment. When another ambulance arrived a paramedic was on board and she started an IV/02. As more help arrived the fire dept. used the Hurst (jaws of life) and it took 45 min to cut him out of the car. They had me stand there the entire time as they didn't want me to let go of pressure under his arm. He was flown to a trauma center by helicopter.

His dad, who was the driver and sustained minor injuries (he climbed out of the van himself), called me today to thank me for saving his son's life. It didn't really hit me until after he called that I really did save this guys life! Me--who has not worked as an RN in 4 years--remembered what to do! So far, it has really helped my self confidence and I feel more empowered--I made a difference in someone's life (in reality it's probably still the adrenaline rush, LOL!)

I am slightly concerned though--I was a mess afterward from all the blood/tissue....I stripped off my clothes on the front porch (in the snow!) and tossed them and went straight to the shower. So hopefully....

Specializes in ICU. Has 13 years experience.

This is wonderful! I hope that you can remember this day and know the difference that you've made in this family's life! Very good very very good thing to do!

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 17,707 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 46 years experience.

Whether licensed or not, that nursing fight or flight response kicks into high gear when needed. Hopefully this experience will help point you in the right direction your life needs to take now. Kudos to you for stopping, not easy in this day and age. Let this kickstart a better time in your life.


What a great gift that family received from you! :redbeathe:redbeathe:redbeathe Peace to you this holiday season.

racing-mom4, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 1,446 Posts

Specializes in ICU/ER.

Awsmom8--I have always paid special attention to any post of yours I see. The little I know of your personal story touches my heart in a special way.

I know you have your own personal angel in heaven helping you along each day, he was of course there on the highway with you too.

Thank you for being such a good citizen/nurse...because of your actions-quick thinking and caring heart another family is also thanking you. You are an awesome role model to your children.

I wish you and your children a very Merry Christmas and Here is to a Happy New Year!!

casi, ASN, RN

2,063 Posts

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience.

You did an AMAZING job.

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

awsmom, you are awesome!!!:balloons:

i can sense your disbelief, but by golly, you did it.

take this as a powerful sign of your competence and instincts, and run with it.

you are sooooo on the right track.

and i'm thrilled to hear that therapy is finally working.

merry Christmas/happy holidays, happy new year and all things wondrous to you.

Lord knows, you have it coming honey.



194 Posts

Specializes in Med-surgical; telemetry; STROKE. Has 9 years experience.

:flwrhrts: Thank you!

I wish you to come back to nursing!

Happy New Year!


locolorenzo22, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,396 Posts

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Detox, Tele.

congrats on coming to the aid of someone and knowing that nursing knowledge always kicks in in a

emergency....hopefully you will reconsider the field.


53 Posts

God bless you and Merry Christmas!!!!:yeah:


2,098 Posts

You gave that man the best Christmas present he could ever receive. His son's life. :)

Good job!!!

iluvivt, BSN, RN

2,773 Posts

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

God works in mysterious ways. I am not familiar with your story...I will have to check it out. Congratulations..... what a gift you gave to this family!!!!

RN BSN 2009

1,289 Posts

Wow!!! That is so awesome!!!!!!!! Hope you don't have nosey neighbors!!!!!!! lol

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