CEU student saves life on I-15

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Posted Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 12:00am

CEU student saves young girl from dying in rollover on his way to Las Vegas. BJ Harmon and Jason Bogenschutz were on their way to see BJ's family in Las Vegas on I-15 when they got 10-15 miles out of Beaver and saw a rolled over white van.

"There were about five cars parked on the side of the road and a lot of people standing around. There was someone lying on the ground. I stopped because I thought I could help," stated Harmon. He is a certified EMT from EMS Training Center of Southern Nevada.

"There were no EMTs there and no one else that knew what was going on, so I jumped right in. My first impression was, there was a girl, she was about 16 years old. Her left eye was not in the right place, it was kind of poked out. Her throat and everything on her face had been crushed in and she had been ejected from the car," Harmon described.

"I immediately checked her breathing, controlled her spine, took control of the head so it didn't move. Then another guy came over and I transferred the head over to him so I could further assess her body injuries. I treated her for shock by elevating her legs over her heart and put blankets all over her to cover her up. I again checked and tried to maintain her breathing, but she was barely breathing at all," he continued.

"About 10 minutes went by and I did my best to keep her breathing. Then she stopped breathing. By this time, a highway patrol trooper arrived and we put an artificial airway in her thoat. It's this tube that's kind of this five inch quarter circle thing. We had to place the tube about half way down her throat.

"As soon as I put it in, she took a big breath and started breathing again. We stabilized her and started administrating oxygen. We got a neck collar on her and the local ambulance showed up. There were these three ladies from Beaver in the ambulance. They helped me place her on a backboard and put her in the ambulance. I climbed in the ambulance with them.

"It seemed like the ladies didn't really know what to do. They were nervous and scared. I had to just take charge. I immediately did suction because she started gargling. I just kept doing the bag mouth. She was coughing up blood really bad when I was bagging her. She'd cough and I would squeeze the bag at the same time and blood would come out the side all over me. I had blood all up and down my arms, all over my shirt, on my face and it didn't bother me.

"There was also a little baby in a car seat and I had to bandage her head because she cut it which needed stitches. She was really happy and smiley.

"Jason followed us in my truck all the way to the hospital. We got to the hospital and they didn't know I was an EMT so the hospital personel kicked me out of the emergency room. They told me to just leave. When they found out that I was an EMT, they were nicer to me. After I washed up, the girl's dad found me and cried and thanked me. There were six people in the van, her sister, mom, dad, gandmother, her baby sister, and her. They had blown a tire and gone to the right side of the road, hit an embankment and rolled, and the girl had been ejected from the van. After her dad talked to me, I began crying. I was just overwhelmed that I had done that. It all went real fast.

"The doctor came out and told me that if I hadn't been there and she wouldn't have got that airway tube she would have died.

"I talked to the EMT's and the doctors just a little while ago. They said she's recovering well, she's going through some plastic surgery and she's going to live.

"I just kept thinking what I had to do and what if I was forgetting anything or if I could do anything more, and about what I learned in training.

"Her dad wanted me to go to a party at her house when she gets out, when she's done with all of her plastic surgery, so she can meet me. I'm definitely going to the party; it makes me feel good. I see her sometimes when I'm sleeping or I'll think about it and remember how messed up she looked. I wondered what would have happened if I would have just cruised by and wouldn't have stopped. It didn't even cross my mind just to drive by. I had this feeling and just automatically stopped.

I got my EMT because I wanted to be a fire fighter at first, then I didn't want to do that. I just wanted to be able to help people if I needed to," Harmon said.

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