“She Wasn’t Breathing. I Thought She Wasn’t Going to Live Unless I Did Something So I Made a Call — I Tried My Best To Rip The Door Off the Hinges and I Got in and Began Working to Stabilize Her”


Source of Photograph:


 On 4 September 2013, a hero showed up following a two-vehicle accident in Odessa, Texas, that sent five people to the hospital. The hero is Louis Serrano III, who works as a nurse at a dialysis clinic and who is a former Intensive Care Unit nurse. Mr. Serrano heard the impact of the crash. He said, “I got to the site and saw the first victim struggling out of the driver’s side — the car was smoking. I saw his injuries and thought, ‘Man, I need to make sure this guy doesn’t bleed out.’” The person he described is 17-year-old Edgar Polanco, driver of a 2001 tan Mercury Grand Marquis. According to a news release from the Odessa Police Department, the Grand Marquis ran a red light and collided with a Lincoln Navigator. Mr. Serrano checked the medical condition of the two people in the Navigator: driver 32-year-old Yvonne Natividad and passenger 44-year-ago Robert Gomez. He said that they were “pretty banged up and in shock,” but stabilized. The three people in the Grand Marquis — Mr. Polanco, and Odessa High School students 15-year-old Alicia Valdez and 16-year-old Kaely Chacon — needed much more help. Mr. Serrano stabilized Mr. Polanco’s neck, and then he asked a bystander to keep Mr. Polanco from moving. Mr. Serrano said, “There was a young lady [Ms. Chacon] on the other side of the car, so I went to stabilize her and put another bystander there to make sure she didn’t move her neck.” Ms. Valdez was crumpled on the floorboard in the back. Mr. Serrano said, “She wasn’t breathing. I thought she wasn’t going to live unless I did something so I made a call — I tried my best to rip the door off the hinges and I got in and began working to stabilize her.” Mr. Serrano freed Ms. Valdez’ diaphragm, and she began to breath, so he turned her on her side. As he waited for paramedics, he made sure that her airway stayed open and that she had a pulse while they waited for paramedics. Mr. Serrano said later, “I told my mom yesterday I just felt helpless.” He had spent 14 years as a nurse in an ICU, but he said that this situation was different: “There we have time to prepare — this felt like it took three hours, but it was really just a few minutes.” He praised the emergency responders, saying that “it was a horrible scene, but I don’t think it could be handled any better.” He added, “There were other healthcare professionals there working to help out. I never stopped to look up and ask who’s who — I just went on autopilot.”

For Further Information: Chris Bartlett, “Good Samaritan helps at accident scene.” Odessa American (Odessa, Texas). 6 September 2013


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