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Pearce medic Kristen Jenkins stopped to help after a driver was trapped under his truck. Picture: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE

Pearce medic helps injured truckie

PEARCE air base medic ACW Kristen Jenkins was travelling home on Thursday, September 20 when she saw a lot of firefighters at an incident on Neaves Rd.

The firefighters were faced with a man who had become trapped beneath his 12 tonne truck, when a jack had given way while he was changing a tyre.  

As she drew closer to the incident, Ms Jenkins noticed there was no ambulance in attendance and quickly offered her services as the first medically qualified person on the scene. 

A recent graduate from the Army School of Health Ms Jenkins had been at Pearce air base for less than a month but was quick to offer her expertise. 

Even though clearly in distress, the injured man was still able to communicate effectively and she was able to confirm he was not in any pain and despite some tingling sensations in his legs he was still able to breathe without issue. 

“It didn’t look good for the patient when I first saw him,’’ she said. 

“He was absolutely stuck under one of the axles of the truck, which was squishing his abdomen. 

“The first thing I thought when I arrived on scene was that this guy was going to be either extremely unlucky or super lucky. 

“Turned out that he was super lucky in the fact that the axle fell where it did.”

After St John Ambulance arrived Ms Jenkins continued to help by setting up an IV and preparing for the possibility a whole blood transfusion might be required once the truck was lifted off the man. 

After about an hour, the emergency service teams were able to get him loose using jacks and air bags to lift the weight of the truck and pull him to safety.

“Because of the patient’s awkward position under the truck we weren’t able to get a good set of vital signs,’’ she said. 

“So it was our first priority to get them done properly as soon as he was out. 

“When all the paramedics were prepared they gave the okay to the fire fighters to lift the truck off the man. 

“The patient was dragged out from underneath the truck and a full set of vitals were done.

“It was such a relief to see his vital signs were in a good range”.  

Ms Jenkins, who remained at the scene assisting emergency services as they prepared the injured man to be airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital by the RAC Rescue helicopter.

“I have never been involved in a motor vehicle accident before, but I have been involved in situations where patients were losing tremendous amounts of fluids, so I was more prepared for the worst-case scenario than the best case.”

Aviation medical officer and 2 Expeditionary Health Squadron Detachment Pearce officer-in-charge FLTLT Leo Hermans was impressed by Ms Jenkins prompt and professional response to the incident. 

“While her technical training may have prepared her well to respond to pre-hospital trauma, responding to unexpected events like this with minimal equipment or support on hand requires a level of confidence and bravery that cannot be gained from training alone,’’ he said.

On Wednesday, October 10 an East Metropolitan Health Service spokeswoman said the truck driver had been discharged from Royal Perth Hospital the next day.

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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