This spring I sent you a number of members from my Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) chapter, Steel Witness. We wanted to support our community of motorcyclists by having trained bystanders in the event our services were needed. Thank you for your support in getting five members of our chapter trained!
Yesterday, May 6th, we needed that training. Returning home from our annual Run for the Son fundraiser, our group had to slow down because the cars ahead of us were stopping. Looking up the middle of the road we saw what appeared to be a rider lying in the road. We single filed our bikes to get up closer. We saw the wrecked bike and immediately dismounted going into action with our ASM training. The traffic was controlled and someone had called 911. As we assessed our situation we could see that the rider had multiple compound fractures on his left leg. He had been riding in shorts so we had full visibility, no trauma shears or cutting of a pant leg were necessary. One of the lacerations in his thigh was so deep I could see his broken femur. The skin and pads on the bottom of his foot were literally ripped off. I could see bone and plantar fascia. Approaching, it was clear he was alert and his eyes were looking around. According to the ABCSS of trauma we knew that he had an airway and was breathing so we turned our attention to bleeding. Fortunately his head appeared uninjured. Surprisingly though, his left leg did not appear to have any remaining active bleeding, but there was bright red blood rhythmically pushing out of his shirt sleeve. I elevated the arm and pinched it just above the elbow. His sleeve fell back and I could see his radius (a bone in the arm between the wrist and the elbow). Putting pressure on the main artery in the arm stopped the bleeding. At this point the woman who the rider side-swiped came forward and identified herself as a nurse practitioner. She requested a tourniquet. I had one and she applied it. We then treated the injured person for shock. We did not move him out of the busy road because he was so torn up. Two of our members were directing traffic and another, Monica, was helping me with the rider. Apparently he had sideswiped on oncoming car at 50+ miles an hour on a bike with no crash bar or saddle bags. That may be why his left side looked like sausage.
Afterwards everyone was processing the graphic accident they had just witnessed, and they were so glad they had completed the ASM Basic Course this spring. I plan to conduct a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing session with the team.
Darrin Salzman is a certified ASM Instructor in Illinois. He previously served as a Medical Service Corps (MSC) officer in the US Army, achieving the rank of Captain. In the Army Darrin worked as a mental health officer providing individual, group, and marital counseling. He became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) during this time and has since maintained his clinical license in Illinois, where he graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana with a Masters in Social Work (MSW). He is currently a member of the McHenry County Medical Reserve Corps and he rides with a number of groups.