Fla. nurse pulls over to aid crash victim, finds EMT son already there
A college medical director and physician also stopped at the crash scene where the EMT, who was his student, was aiding the injured cyclist
Palm Beach Post
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — In all his years preparing students for careers in nursing or emergency medicine, Dr. Steven Keehn had never run into one at a crash scene.
That changed Jan. 12, when the longtime physician and medical director for HCI College was greeted by David Knighton, one of his emergency medical technician students who had stopped to render aid to an injured bicyclist.
With Knighton at the scene was his mom, Mary Wallace, an ICU nurse at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center who happened to be driving by the crash at 45th Street and Congress Avenue when she saw her son assisting the victim and stopped to help.
The male victim had been a hit by a car and was lying in the middle of the street.
Knighton and Wallace, who live in West Palm Beach, stabilized the patient and kept him warm while waiting for emergency crews to respond.
The first to arrive was Keehn, who also is the assistant medical director for West Palm Beach Fire Rescue and occasionally takes calls with the agency.
"I was riding in the EMS shift supervisor's vehicle, and I got out," said Keehn, who has helped prepare thousands of students for careers in nursing and emergency medicine through HCI, a private medical career college in West Palm Beach, and at the University of Miami.
"I came right over to the patient. I got down, and David greeted me. I smiled. I was really excited to see my student. I asked him to give me his report. He told me the situation, and he did a fantastic job."
Knighton, who graduated last month from the EMT program at HCI and now is enrolled in the Fire Academy at Palm Beach State College, said he used his training to assess and treat the patient while waiting for help to arrive.
He first saw the man lying in the road with his damaged bicycle nearby, so he stopped his car in the middle of the median and walked over to help. The driver of the vehicle who struck the victim stayed at the scene, Knighton said.
The victim was conscious, Knighton said, and appeared to have sustained a severe injury to his right side.
As Knighton was assessing the victim, Wallace pulled over to help. She said she was on her way home from running errands when traffic came to a stop, and then she saw her son bent over the victim.
"I saw a person laying in the middle of the road, and they were being taken care of by somebody, and it was my son," she said. "My son was there, and he was there from the beginning."
Wallace, a longtime nurse who has spent the past 15 years at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, said she wasn't surprised to see her son helping a person in need.
As as an example, she points to her own experience with a severe case of COVID-19. After she returned home from the hospital in December, Knighton, who hopes to become a firefighter-paramedic, helped nurse her back to health.
"I had a very proud mom moment when I looked and saw him out there," she said. "It felt good as a mom, but also as a human being. He had enough inside of him to stop, even though he didn't know what he would be able to do. He didn't just ride by. He tried to give as much aid as he could. He was raised that way, so it made me very proud."
The victim was stabilized at the scene and taken to St. Mary's Medical Center, Keehn said.
He remains in good condition and could be discharged shortly, a hospital spokesperson said.
Keehn said he was proud of Wallace and her son for providing care and comfort to the injured bicyclist.
"They're good people," he said. "When someone needed help, they stopped and did their best to give the patient the care that they needed. It was my pleasure to be on the call with them and to help the patient."
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