Monday, September 22, 2003

Seat belts DO save lives

I'd like to share with you a few things I learned while stopping at a rollover accident on Highway 5 on Friday.

The two occupants of a van were driving from San Diego, both tired. The passenger was sleeping; the driver was barely awake. The driver fell asleep at the wheel, hit the ditch, and rolled the van. My husband said that the van rolled at least 2-3 times judging by the amount of damage. It landed upright, but the roof was completely crushed on one side.

Miraculously, both young men walked away from the scene ! The passenger had hit his head; the driver was complaining of neck pain. I had some bystanders hold c-spine, took vitals/history, and cleaned up a very small amount of blood from a forehead and a hand (with gloves on of course !). The CHP officer that arrived some time later told us that they were very lucky. The sleeping passenger is usually the one *ejected* from the vehicle because he isn't able to brace himself as the accident is happening.

Also, in a remote area such as this (we were far from civilization), it sometimes takes up to 20 minutes for emergency vehicles to arrive at the scene. As a first responder, us ERT members are able to provide vital patient care until more qualified personnel arrive. The exceptional training of the ERT program, and our experience, enables us to do this.

These two gentlemen tried to drive while very tired, which isn't advisable. But they were smart enough to wear their seat belts. This very likely saved their lives.


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