Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In an attempt to connect my experience as a River Steward and a member of the Rescue Squad, I decided to volunteer at the Emergency Medical Services department (Station 22, Huber Heights) and Miami Valley Hospital (MVH). Coincidentally, I happened to be a part of the rescue team for a woman who crashed into the Great Miami River on the first night of November, 2012*. As our crew arrived on scene, we were informed that the patient was trapped in her car, submerged in the river up to her waist level for approximately 25 minutes. The patient was extricated and secured on the stretcher, which was loaded onto the back of our ambulance. Unaware of the river's presence, the patient had turned towards its side to avoid collisions as she lost control of her vehicle, as stated by the patient en route to the hospital. Due to this accident, the patient was severely hypothermic, and all of her wet clothing but the top underwear was completely cut and removed in order to restore her body temperature. The patient pleaded with us not to cut her brassiere because she would not be able to afford a new one. She then asked us to pack all of her torn clothes, so she could mend and wear them again if possible. It still makes me sad thinking about how unfortunate it is for anyone to have to worry about his or her clothes while in a situation that could result in death. Indeed, this incident was a direct reminder of the poverty level in our region. When I volunteered in the Emergency Department of MVH, for instance, I interviewed a homeless man who asked the hospital staff to assist his suicide. (Both of these patients survived, as far as I know.) Yet I am grateful that these service opportunities have opened my eyes to people who are in need, and led me to think about my own role in society. With the strong support from the Rivers Institute and the Fitz Center, I feel that River Stewards could achieve almost anything to make the difference we want to make, and am extremely excited to see what we will bring to our community by helping those that are in need.  

*This story was covered in local ABC news, but attaching the link would be a violation of patient privacy.

Hailey Kwon
2015 Cohort

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