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Old 09-09-2014, 04:08 PM   #1
maddiedog OP
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Question What SHOULD you do if you come upon an accident outside cell range?

This has been bothering me for a month or so. I helped and gave some aid to a wrecked rider on the Cherohala Skyway in TN earlier this year, and am still unsure if I did the right thing, the wrong thing, or what I should have done differently.

This happened about a month ago. I didn't do anything I could be legally liable for as far as I can tell, but want good discussion about I could have done better, or shouldn't do in the future.

Me and friend of mine were on a camping trip and had finished riding some awesome gravel roads in TN and NC. We were riding the Skyway and encountered a wreck on a blind turn just after an overlook. A guy on a Honda cruiser that looked like a Harley (shiny expensive chromey thing that can't lean) wrecked into a ditch and ate major shit. From what I could tell, he got bucked off when he hit dirt and landed hard in the ditch. His bike flipped a couple of times before coming to a stop, and was totaled. From what I've seen of accidents, he was probably moving at 30mph or less -- the bike didn't go too far from the scrapes where he slid off the road.

We came upon the accident at speed in a blind corner, and almost mowed into the crew of guys in leathers that the guy was riding with. They were banded around him trying to figure out what to do, parked in the middle of the turn.

No one had taken charge of the situation, and everyone was standing around arguing what to do. I assessed the situation:

> At a glance, the rider was not mortally wounded, and in no immediate thread of death.
> It was unclear if anyone called 911.
> No one had assessed the rider for major injuries, but were just "making sure he was comfortable." They were squeamish. All but one woman were keeping distance and looking away from him (there were about 8 riders there total). The woman had him talking some, but he wasn't getting up.
> No one had moved the rider (phew). He was lying against a ditch.
> No one knew the riders name or medical conditions; they were all just part of a random ride to the Dragon. (Harley + Dragon + weekend = facepalm)
> The fuckwads were blocking a nearly blind corner, and half of them parked on the road.
> The accident had taken place about 5 minutes before we arrived.
> There was no one on the other sides of the blind corner warning other riders. We almost mowed into them around the turn, and I'm confident a supermoto riding at track speed would have been another accident when one came through.
> The guy was NOT riding home, the bike was clearly totaled. The front rim and bars were destroyed, forks bent, wheel in radiator...

Bystander effect is common in a crisis. Bystander effect occurs when the crowd all assumes someone else is already taking action, and no action occurs. In a crisis, there needs to be specific authority and specific action taken by specific individuals to ensure it actually occurs... I'm a 26 year old kid riding with my 19 pound fruitcake of a dog. What the fuck. I guess someone has to take control...

Before worrying about 911, I needed to make the scene was safe first, and that no other accidents would occur as a result of this.

I instructed two guys to move the wrecked bike out of the way, and instructed two others to stand on either side of the curve to warn oncoming riders. With that instruction in place, I instructed everyone else to move their friggin bikes off the blind turn in the road and onto the nearby overlook.

I went over to the downed rider. He rider was in shock. He was lying on his back the ground, and had been hit hard on the back of the head. That was fortunate, given he was only wearing a brain bucket. His pupils were uneven. He was responsive, but was severely disoriented.

He was slow to respond, and clearly confused. He knew he had been in a wreck, but did not know what day it was, what happened, or where he was. It was clear from his pupils that he had a concussion at the very least, and needed immediate medical attention. My friend went went to try to get someone to phone 911 -- his phone had no reception.

There was no evidence of any broken bones at a glance, but he had a moderate puncture wound and road rash on one leg. Bleeding was moderate from what I could tell; he wasn't in immediate danger of bleeding out. He said his leg hurt, and asked me if I could look at it closer. At his request, I treated his leg accordingly, cleaning, sanitizing, and bandaging his leg. I did not move him, and said he should not move in case his back or neck got damaged in the accident. He was ok with that, and did not want to move, saying he didn't think he could if he wanted to.

While I cleaned his leg up, I asked his name and if he had any medical conditions. Fuck, he's diabetic. It was unclear whether or not his levels were okay, and he was very clearly in shock still. For those of you not familiar with diabetes, if his blood sugar levels get enough out of whack, especially if he is already in shock, it increases the likelihood of him going into a diabetic coma. It also makes his need for medical attention more urgent.

I instructed the woman who had been talking to him when I rode up to keep him talking, to make sure he was ok, and advised her not to move him. I kept my assessment to myself, and told the group that me and my friend would go call 911. I didn't want to provide any medical advice since I wasn't a doctor.

Between me and you inmates, my assessment was that he clearly needed medical attention, and he was disoriented enough that I was afraid he may lose consciousness. In addition, since his diabetes was unchecked as far as I knew, his accident may have been caused by diabetic shock if he was too busy riding to watch his insulin levels (it happens all the fucking time). The disorientation could be as much a factor of imminent, severe diabetic issues as it could be from the accident. He didn't have an insulin pump, at the very least, so his levels were unregulated at this point.

We left to ride down the mountain in search of reception. We were playing leapfrog with overlooks -- my friend would stop at one, I'd stop at the next. After less than 10 minutes, I had signal and called it in to 911. I told the operator the rider's name, injuries, medical conditions, and medications. The operator said that the ambulance would be there in under 30 minutes. She said that she could not ask me to return to the scene of the accident legally, but that the rider would likely appreciate confirmation that help is on the way, and any more aid I may be able to give.

Here's where shit gets fucking STUPID.

Right before we got back to the scene to tell them help was on the way, they left with the rider tied to the motorcycle to take him to the hospital. According to the bystanders there, one of the guys talked to the downed rider about how expensive ambulances were, convinced him "YER TOUGH, YOU DON'T NEED AN AMBULANCE" then had another rider help lift him onto his bike, tied him to the sissy bar, and rode down to take him to the hospital.

At this point, I wanted to be clear of this nonsense. I had only bandaged his leg AT HIS REQUEST, and wanted NOTHING to do with them leaving without an ambulance. If he had spinal injuries and he was improperly moved, they could have done SERIOUS damage. If his blood levels were out of whack and he was about to go into diabetic shock in addition to normal shock, even worse could happen.

We left. We stopped a couple of overpasses later to talk about whether or not we did the right thing... In retrospect, I think I did the right thing, but may have exposed myself to potential legal nonsense by bandaging his leg at his request.

Did I do the right thing? What would you do, and what SHOULD you do in a situation like this? What do you think?
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:24 PM   #2
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Since you took charge, you should have sent someone to make the 911 call.
You did everything else right.

I think we had a thread about this, or my work had some sort of video.
There are steps to do, just like you did, but you send someone, just because of what happened.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:27 PM   #3
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I would have called 911 back and canceled the meat wagon, why waste their time for asshats.
Apart from that you did good.

Edit: I don't own a cell phone so unless you have one you f%#ed if I come up on ya.

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Bollocks screwed with this post 09-09-2014 at 05:33 PM
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:34 PM   #4
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Holy shit!!! Sorry, that's all I've did everything right in my opinion. Thinking back on FA and CPR classes I've taken, and accident scene management classes.....the only I would've done differently is stayed with the rider until the ambulance got there. But you were surround by people that you assumed wanted to help the rider.....what a bunch of fucking idiots?!!! Anybody know if the rider made it to a hospital??

And, are a good person...a really good person!

hardwaregrrl screwed with this post 09-09-2014 at 05:54 PM
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:53 PM   #5
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You went above and beyond

You needn't think you did anything wrong. On the contrary. You showed care and concern. You helped the rider and you likely prevented injury to others. If I was the one in the ditch, I would have appreciated all that you did.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:58 PM   #6
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Retired Emergency/Trauma RN here. Sounds like everything you did was proper. The only thing I would have done differently was to have sent someone else to call 911. As to liability, you are covered by "The Good Samaritan" law. I think every state has one. You acted in good faith and tried to help the guy. You are not to be judged as a licensed medical professional would. We would be compared to what a reasonable medical professional would do under similar circumstances. That is why doctors and nurses hesitate to stop at accidents. People see us as having "deep pockets" via our insurance companies.
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:04 PM   #7
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You did a good thing, good job.
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:24 PM   #8
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That was pretty good, especially without medical training. You are safe and protected. If you are up to it and want to feel more empowered I strongly recommmend Wildernss Medical Institute, which is part of NOLS: National Outdoor Leaership School. I am required to have a Wilderness First Responder certificaion for my job, which covers this kind of stuff. There trainings are offered all over the world and are reasonably priced. The principles you practiced here would be covered in detail.

It actually is normal to feel guilty, but give yourself permission to let it go. You are protected and there is nothing to worry about. Good luck brotha, keep riding.
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
Since you took charge, you should have sent someone to make the 911 call.
You did everything else right.

I think we had a thread about this, or my work had some sort of video.
There are steps to do, just like you did, but you send someone, just because of what happened.
This ^

Also I would have had two on one bike so the rider could just worry about riding and the pillion could check for reception as they were on the move rather than leap frogging. But it's pretty minor.
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:34 PM   #10
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FF/EMT with 22 years here. You did fine! You did nothing wrong. You did a great job for an untrained bystander. As mentioned, someone should have called 911 immediately (and if you were aware they had not, you are supposed to command someone to do so). The other bystanders may have really f-ed up by moving him at all, much less tying him to a bike! That rider appeared potentially very seriously injured with signs of TBI, shock, etc.: these are potentially life-threatening. We would call for the Life Flight chopper on a scene like that!
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:35 PM   #11
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I agree with the above. Sounds text book other than you making the 911 call. If you sent someone to make the call you could have been the voice of reason at the scene when those... I believe they were referred to as "asshats" were trying to move him and do the wrong things. You were clearly the only one thinking.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:13 PM   #12
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In my unprofessional opinion? You're good.

It's the other idiots who could face potential lawsuits for doing what they did. If the guy had a broken bone or internal bleeding he wasn't aware of(I didn't know my leg was broken until I got it x-rayed), moving him carelessly could make it worse.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:13 PM   #13
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I feel a lot better now, thanks for the responses.

More than anything else, I really hope the rider came out ok. There's no sense in me dwelling on what I could have done differently to change the outcome, so I'll forget it and move forwards. I'll let it go, and try to take it as a learning experience rather than something I should have concern over.

I'm still unsure about legality with the situation though. I didn't leave my information, and I'm doubtful any of my aid could get tracked to me, but you never know.

lfoster729, I read the pages you linked to. I'm not sure if the good samaritan law would apply to me. I'm not a doctor, and I don't qualify as "any member of a volunteer first aid, rescue or emergency squad." (from the TN page). Wikipedia even says "Not all jurisdictions provide protection to laypersons, instead protecting only trained personnel, such as doctors or nurses and perhaps also emergency services personnel such as trained police, fire and EMS workers."

I'm no lawyer, but that sounds like lots of these laws don't necessarily protect us if we try to render aid. I'm still a bit nervous as a result about rendering aid in the future -- clearly I'm competent under the pressure (from this event), but I don't want to ever face repercussions from helping someone in need. Our nation is very sue-happy.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by maddiedog View Post
I'm no lawyer, but that sounds like lots of these laws don't necessarily protect us if we try to render aid. I'm still a bit nervous as a result about rendering aid in the future -- clearly I'm competent under the pressure (from this event), but I don't want to ever face repercussions from helping someone in need. Our nation is very sue-happy.
On one hand, I get where you're coming from.

On the other, isn't it kind of sketchy for you to get sued? I can understand the motivation if some moron trashed his expensive supermoto that he didn't bother insuring and wants someone else to pay for it. But until EMS arrives, it's your word VS his, and if I were injured in a crash, I would not be in any shape to concoct some story for the EMS crew to witness.
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:27 AM   #15
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This happen in Georgia? If so, 51-1-29 applies, and you are not liable for the treatment you rendered, provided you did so in good faith (which apparently you did).

" Any person, including any person licensed to practice medicine and surgery pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 34 of Title 43 and including any person licensed to render services ancillary thereto, who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an accident or emergency to the victim or victims thereof without making any charge therefor shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or omission by such person in rendering emergency care or as a result of any act or failure to act to provide or arrange for further medical treatment or care for the injured person."

I agree with others that you did make a mistake, that of going away to get help. You already knew the people were incapable of acting responsibly, which is why you felt compelled to do so. You should have stayed and sent others for help. Your leaving allowed the situation to descend into the stupidity it de-volved into.
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