Texas woman who suffered traumatic amputation in crash reunites with EMS providers
A Williamson County EMS commander immediately placed a tourniquet and transport was initiated within five minutes
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — A Leander mother recently had the opportunity to meet the Williamson County first responders who helped save her life last year.
"It was an incredible experience because it's not very common that you get the chance to say thank you and to be able to put faces to names that are instrumental to my survivor story," said Tiana Richardson. The mother of an 11-year-old and a 4-year old called it a "healing experience."
Richardson was in a car crash in February 2020 in which she lost her leg and was taken to the Level II Trauma Center at St. David's Round Rock Medical Center to undergo surgeries to save her life.
"I was picking up 800 carnations with my mom as I was on PTA (parent teacher association) for my daughter's school," Richardson said. "The flowers were dumped in my trunk and were overflowing, and we had pulled over on the side of the road to get out and fix them. The last thing I remember before waking up from surgery was pushing the button to close the hatch of my car and then after that there's not much else I remember of the actual accident."
Kristen Hullum, trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David's, said Richardson was hit by a truck while fixing the carnations in her trunk.
"Her leg was traumatically amputated at the scene and EMS arrived very quickly and was able to place a tourniquet immediately around her upper thigh to control the bleeding," Hullum said. "It was important that it was done quickly because the biggest reason trauma patients die is because of blood loss."
Williamson County EMS Cmdr. Kevin Krienke was the first on the scene and he applied the tourniquet to her leg.
"It was a rainy afternoon, but I was able to get there quickly and when I arrived, I found her on the ground," Krienke said. "I was able to get the tourniquet on extremely quickly. As with any amputation, there is a significant amount of blood loss and that can be fatal within a matter of minutes, so I was glad to have applied that to her leg before the ambulance arrived."
Hullum said that once the ambulance came, EMS performed a thorough trauma assessment on Richardson and took her to the hospital.
"They did an outstanding job and they had her on the way to the hospital within five minutes, which is about as good as it gets," Hullum said.
Hullum said the exceptional and timely care Richardson received before getting to the hospital was crucial.
"It made a difference in the amount of blood she lost because she didn't need blood transfusions as much she could have needed if it wasn't controlled that quickly," Hullum said.
Richardson said she is amazed at how much progress she has made in the past 15 months.
"It's been a long road from when I ended up in the hospital, and a lot of surgeries took place, to when I was just so happy to be able to get out of my bed with a lot of help," Richardson said. "Now I'm at the point where I can transfer myself in and out of the car ... and can cook for myself and my kids, so it's incredible to see the progress I've made."
"Our job is normally not fun because we're dealing with a lot of death and destruction," Krienke said, "but to see her happy and to be with her kids and family again makes it all worthwhile."
(c)2021 Austin American-Statesman, Texas
How to manage traumatic amputations and uncontrolled bleeding
Knowing the type of amputation, ways to quickly control bleeding, and proper body part preservation can lead to an increase in survival rates