Kadena NCOs rescue man trapped under vehicle

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
Two staff sergeants assigned here helped pull a man pinned under an automobile after an off-base accident at an intersection near Gate 2 March 3.

Staff Sgts. Abraham Forehand, a combat controller with the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, and Aaron Sanders, a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist with the 31st Rescue Squadron, were driving to work when they each pulled up to the intersection and spotted the accident.

Once they noticed the accident, they immediately saw a local resident trapped under the vehicle. He was on his side with his right shoulder and face pointing to the ground. The weight of the vehicle was crushing him so badly the sergeants said it was hard to tell he was actually on his side.

"When we looked under the vehicle, we saw a Japanese male face down, twisted on his side with his face actually touching the pavement," said Sergeant Sanders. "There was minor bleeding and we noticed labored breathing. We knew they had to get the car off of him."

Sergeant Forehand quickly organized nearby locals to help him lift the automobile enough for Sergeant Sanders to pull the victim out. The two Sergeants then rolled him over onto his back while supporting his neck. Then, Sergeant Forehand held the man's neck in place while Sergeant Sanders accomplished a head to toe assessment. The two communicated throughout the assessment to ensure their assessment was thorough and to avoid further injury to the vicitm. They determined there was some bleeding from road rash and a head laceration, labored breathing, a rapid pulse, and what was almost certainly a dislocated shoulder.

"I'm not able to officially diagnose patients with the minimal medical training I have received, but I could tell he had a shoulder injury and probably was in shock," Sergeant Forehand said. "His arm was twisted and his right shoulder was kind of pushed forward toward the front of his body. Also, his labored breathing and rapid pulse are signs of possible shock we're taught to look for."

As time passed, the two Kadena NCOS held the victim in a stable position bracing his neck and securing his hips until medical personnel could arrive on scene. They were concerned because the victim was drifting in and out of consciousness. Sergeant Sanders kept rubbing his knuckles on the man's sternum to keep him from passing out -- a trick he learned playing a casualty during a pararescue medical training exercise.

"With everything that happened, he should have been screaming in pain but he wasn't," said Sergeant Forehand. "We were concerned with his state of consciousness and the fact he wasn't shouting from his obvious injuries. We wanted to provide as much help as we could and minimize any further injuries until the paramedics could arrive."

After about 10 minutes, the victim's responsiveness improved. He was attempting to get up and move his arms. The two staff sergeants continued to hold the man in a stabled position until the ambulance arrived because they were worried about further complicating possible head and neck injuries.

Once they ambulance arrived, the paramedics assumed care and the two NCOs were relieved to see responsiveness in the victim.

"As the paramedics arrived, he began to attempt to speak and get very emotional," Sergeant Sanders said. "It was a relief to see him respond after everything that had happened."

"After the local medics took over, I noticed my hands were covered in blood from holding his head and neck in place," Sergeant Forehand said. "As time went on, especially when the paramedics took over, I felt comfortable with the way he was responding and glad we were able to assist him."