As Kathy Crawford reminds people, not all health care emergencies will happen at the hospital. In fact, sometimes they happen during your daily morning commute to work, when you see a vehicle veer off the road.
Crawford, an APRN family nurse practitioner at Baptist Health Urgent Care, is experienced with emergencies, and took action to help another motorist on the morning of March 16. The Murray resident was near the Graves and McCracken county line, and coming up U.S. 45, heading to Paducah.
“I’m driving in the left lane, and there’s a car that’s in front of me, and he just goes from the left across the traffic to the right lane, and down a 10-foot ravine,” she said. “Just disappears, like right in front of us.
“I immediately turned on my blinker, and got over, and so did the man that was to my right. And, I went sliding down the hill and he went behind me. The car had went into the creek, and the cruise control was on, so it was still spinning water and it was throwing mud.”
Among the efforts of motorists, Crawford tried to break a window on the vehicle, but couldn’t. A man who stopped to help was able to. Another person helped to unlock a door and turn it off. Several people worked to get the unconscious man up the incline, to a flat area, as they waited for an ambulance. A woman grabbed Crawford’s trauma bag for her to use.
“He’s not breathing well,” she recalled. “He’s doing the agonal breathing.”
Crawford’s many years of medical experience kicked in.
Among the first aid, she worked to help the man breathe, and open the airway, including the use of an “oral airway.” The man was taken to Mercy Health for medical assistance, and Crawford later heard that he was stable.
“It was just putting the right people, at the right place, at the right time,” Crawford said.
She estimated about five people helped that day, other than first responders, and thanked these strangers, whoever they are.
To recognize Crawford, Baptist Health Medical Group surprised her with a Hero Award at the Urgent Care office on Wednesday afternoon. She received a signed certificate and a bag of goodies to mark the occasion.
“That’s so sweet! Thank you,” Crawford told Baptist Health’s Sheri Gudgell and Cathy Driskill, who presented her with the recognition.
Baptist Health Paducah expressed its congratulations to Crawford on social media. Gudgell, an operations manager, and Driskill, a practice manager, had nominated Crawford for the April 2021 Hero Award.
“Kathy, you are a true health care hero!” the hospital posted.
In the end, Crawford said she was humbled by the “unexpected” award.
“I just try to think that if someone I loved was in a wreck, I would want somebody to help them, even if they weren’t medical (personnel),” she said. “They could sit and hold their hand until the ambulance got there, and let them know they’re not alone.”