It was only a mock drill, but when Police Officer James Knapp Sr. of Rio Vista received the terrible news from Dr. Seth Kaufman that his son “died” from injuries following a traffic collision with a drunken driver, it sure felt real.
With his fiancée trying to hold back tears at his side, Knapp took the long walk down the corridor at NorthBay Medical Center to the Emergency Department bed where his son, Jimmy, lay covered with a sheet. Following a few steps behind was a videographer and photographer capturing images of Rio Vista High School’s “Every 15 Minutes” program.
Once the shot was done, Jimmy, 16, was allowed to bounce up from his “deathbed” and give his family a hug.
“How was the helicopter ride?” asked his father.
“I couldn’t see much,” shrugged Jimmy, who arrived tied down to a gurney, his face bloodied with fake paint and his clothes shredded.
On Friday, March 23, students had a chance to watch the whole ordeal on video, from the crash, to the paramedics’ arrival, to the emergency room care, to family being notified.
NorthBay Emergency Department staff jumped at the opportunity to again partner with local firefighters, police, EMS crews, school officials, students and their parents in this national program, which teaches students the sobering facts and consequences of drinking and driving.
During the two-day program, a mock crash was staged at the Rio Vista campus. EMS crews delivered three students—Jimmy via a CALSTAR helicopter, and Heather Marlowe and Ryan Ratchford by Medic Ambulance.
Heather Venezio, Trauma Program director, used the opportunity to call a full Code Trauma, giving numerous departments of the hospital a chance to test their skills.
“From the healthcare industry prevention perspective, this program has a profound effect on students and staff,” says Heather. “It teaches us how we can do a better job of taking care of patients. Training is key to us all functioning as a really well-organized team.”
Coordinating the response for NorthBay was Leigh Rabold, R.N., who admits that after participating with this program four times, she’s very passionate about it.
“We have a mission to partner and to educate kids about the risks of DUI,” says Leigh. “I love to see the raw emotion from the parents. We get so caught up in doing our jobs that sometimes we forget how real it is for people. This gives us a chance to connect and reminds us that we do make a difference in our daily jobs.”