A few weeks ago I was travelling back from Orange with a work colleague, she was driving and I was happily chatting away, admiring the scenery, looking at the paddocks, the hills, the fencelines when I registered that there was a bent fence post. I had that momentary thought of ‘why is that fencepost bent, it shouldn’t be‘, then I registered the rest of the image, there was a car against it, that’s why it’s bent, then I processed that there was a lady in the driver’s seat and she did not look conscious. There were no other people or cars pulled up, so I told my work colleague ‘I think we need to stop‘, we pulled over, turned around and went back. At the same time, so did the two cars on the highway in front of us.
It was all very surreal, I called the ambulance and the lady on the phone talked us through the whole process of checking for breathing, she wasn’t, we had to get her out of the car and start compressions. I did not find it at all helpful when the operator told us we would do 400 compressions before the ambulance arrived, so I chose not to tell my work colleague that bit. The blokes that had pulled up were not overly helpful, and we just tried to block them out and focus on counting and listening for breathing, while continuing compressions. To cut a long story short it felt like an eternity before the ambulance arrived, when in reality it probably wasn’t, the police and ambulance officers took over, it did not look promising, they were still doing compressions as they loaded her in the ambulance.
We know that this lady was airlifted to a hospital, but beyond that we have not heard any more. I do not know her name or if she survived, I hope she did, and I am taking no news as good news.
Today I drove back past the scene of her accident, I was alone and I felt sad and sick. I thought that I would be OK, but I wasn’t quite, I realised that, that moment, when I was admiring fenceposts rather than looking straight ahead has changed things, that moment and that place will stick with me for a very long time.
I am not writing this for a ‘good job you’ or any such thing, I am writing to say that if you see something that doesn’t seem quite right, don’t just keep driving or walking, stop and investigate because you could just make a difference as to whether a person is alone and not given a chance or whether they get a shot at fighting for life.
It is also a good thing to keep your first aid certificate up to date, I know mine isn’t and it’s now on my to do list to get it updated, you just never know when you might need it.