NorthBay Assists in Mock Drill
March 26, 2010
|CALSTAR crew and NorthBay Medical Center Emergency Department staff pull a mock patient, Maire Saavedra, onto a stretcher.|
|Dr. Nathan Van Dyke (center) works with Zach McLendon, R.N. (left) and Emergency Department Technician Marie Switzer.|
When a mock tragedy struck Rio Vista High School, a team from NorthBay Medical Center's Emergency Department stepped up to care for the simulated victims of a horrible crash.
It was all part of the national "Every 15 Minutes" program designed to teach students the sobering facts and consequences of drinking and driving.
Watch the video
The March 25 drill started with a simulated accident right on campus: one fatality, three injured victims and two mangled cars. It concluded at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield where one teen was pronounced dead and two others survived, but with permanent emotional scars.
Shortly following the arrest of the "drunken driver," a CALSTAR helicopter airlifted 18-year-old Maira Saavedra, the "sober driver." Meanwhile, Medic Ambulance took her two passengers, Amaris Preston, 18, and Jenny Zaragoza, 16, to the NorthBay ER.
Saavedra arrived first, and Emergency Department physician Nathan Van Dyke, M.D., and his team - Denise Milde, R.N., Leigh Rabold, R.N., Zach McLendon, R.N., and technician Marie Switzer - bolted into action.
Despite valiant efforts, Saavedra was pronounced dead at 10:55 a.m. One of her passengers, Jenny Zaragoza, was told she might be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
"You're the lucky one," McLendon told Amaris Preston as she lay in one of the treatment rooms. "You're going to be OK."
After Saavedra was pronounced dead, Rabold made arrangements for a chaplain and a translator to talk to her mother, Irma, who was waiting in a quiet room just off the NorthBay lobby.
Even though Irma Saavedra knew it was a drill, she still sobbed when told her daughter was dead.
"May I see her?" she asked, through her tears.
"No one has ever asked for that before in this drill," said Rabold, who was involved two years ago when Rio Vista last staged an "Every 15 Minutes" program. She agreed it would be a valuable addition to the exercise.
The challenge, then, was to get the "victim" to lay still and play dead, when her sobbing mother entered the room. It was all recorded on video by Steve Berry of Timeline Video Productions. He and Ernie Holley were preparing to pull an all-nighter to edit nearly two hours of film into a 15-minute presentation Rio Vista students could view the next day.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to work with the community to deliver a powerful message to students about the dangers of drinking and driving," said Pat Wentworth, Director of Emergency Services. "It also helps us stay on top of our response to trauma cases. Even though we're not designated as an official trauma center, we do occasionally have such cases brought in to us, and so it's good practice."