KINGSPORT —The long-standing commitment of Holston Valley Medical Center’s Level I trauma center to safety education may have prevented tragedies this summer – much to the gratitude of local law enforcement.
Jason Cox, a Scott County, Va., sheriff’s deputy who also serves as resource officer for Rye Cove High School in Duffield, recently presented the team with certificates of appreciation for its role in a mock crash at the school.
The demonstration was led by John Murnane, Holston Valley’s injury prevention specialist. Students watched as the trauma team, along with WellmontOne Air Transport and Duffield Volunteer Fire and Rescue, staged a trauma patient being rescued from the car and prepared for transport. The exhibition included emergency responders strapping a student volunteer to a stretcher and loading her into the waiting helicopter.
“We’re forever grateful for this effort,” Cox said. “The students all enjoyed it, and they learned a lot. It’s definitely an eye-opener for them to see the effects of dangerous driving.
“Initially, the kids were mostly in awe of the helicopter, the Jaws of Life and all the other equipment. But once they saw one of their peers loaded into the ambulance and helicopter, the reality of car accidents – and the potential for tragedy – really sunk in.”
Cox also presented a certificate to Anita Ashby, Wellmont Health System’s director of flight services, for WellmontOne’s role in the demonstration.
“Wellmont’s dedication to keeping people safe and preventing accidents is really remarkable,” Cox said. “It’s definitely kept more than a few teenagers alive.”
The health system’s trauma employees regularly stage mock crashes at several schools and driving classes in the region. Many team members, including Murnane, are also heavily involved in Trauma Nurses Talk Tough, a free program where trauma nurses attend meetings or other gatherings to teach parents, teenagers and other children about safety topics and injury prevention.
“Teenagers tend to think they’re invincible, which can lead them to some pretty reckless behavior,” Murnane said. “If we can convince them to stop and think before they act, we’ve done our jobs.”
Ashby and the rest of the WellmontOne crew share Murnane’s passion for injury prevention.
“It is our honor to partner with local hospitals and emergency medical services to save lives, but it’s even better if we can stop accidents from happening in the first place,” Ashby said. “I know I speak for our team members, as well as our EMS partners, when I say we are privileged to potentially save these young lives.”
Schools or other organizations that want to schedule a demonstration should call the Holston Valley trauma department at 423-224-5826.
Jason Cox, left, Scott County deputy and school resource officer for Rye Cove High School, presents, from left to right, Anita Ashby, Wellmont Health System's director of flight services, and Holston Valley Medical Center trauma team members John Murnane and Ashley Parker with certificates to thank them for helping with a mock crash at the school.