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Army radiology instructor and medic render assistance to crash victim

Image of Mom and Dad in military gear with their young son. Click to open a larger version of the image. Army Staff Sgts. Tasha (left) and Karrie Prescott with their son. (Photo courtesy of Karrie Prescott)

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Health Readiness | Public Health

Army Staff Sgts. Karrie & Tasha Prescott, along with their 3-year-old son, were in their car running errands on the afternoon of Aug. 19 when they witnessed a white SUV run through a stop sign and crash into a tree.

Prescott, a Medical Education and Training Campus radiologic technologist program instructor assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, was in the passenger seat so she was able to quickly jump out of their vehicle as it slowed to go check on the driver.  Tasha then parked their car in a secure location and made sure their son was safe before joining her spouse to help.

“As I approached the vehicle it was on its side and I had to get some other witnesses to help me move a large tree branch so that I could get to the man who appeared to be unconscious,” Karrie Prescott said. “My wife and I jumped into the vehicle with the man because we suspected that he might have a spinal injury and we didn't want to risk injuring him any further by moving him.”

The man did not have a pulse and was struggling to breathe so the Soldiers began administering CPR inside the vehicle until emergency medical services arrived.

“We were able to regain a pulse and he was taking breaths on his own, but EMS instructed us to get out of the vehicle because it was unsafe,” Karrie Prescott said.

After the San Antonio Fire Department stabilized the vehicle, EMS was able to get the man out and continue to perform interventions. Although the driver was taken to a local hospital, his status is currently unknown.

The radiology instructor has served in the Army for 12 years and has had combat lifesaver training. She also teaches basic life support, but she attributes her actions that day to instinct.

“We were the first ones on the scene and I felt like it was up to us to help the man however we could.”

Their medical training helped with knowing the steps for CPR and how to check responsiveness and breathing.

“To me, it didn't really seem like that big a deal,” stated Karrie Prescott. “But the next time I teach CPR I will possibly tell the story so that my students can know that learning CPR is not something that you learn just to learn. It can actually help them save a life one day.”

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