Treating a Mass Casualty Incident Alone

One recent evening, I went to visit my mother-in-law. I was suddenly alerted to a mass-casualty-incident in the region resulting from a violent feud between clans. I apologized to my mother-in-law, rushed out to my motorcycle, and started riding to the scene using local roads to avoid highway traffic.

Hassan at the scene of the incident

As I approached the location of the incident I hit heavy traffic on the local roads, caused by a police cordon of the area.  Fortunately, I was on my ambucycle that I had just received from United Hatzalah, enabling me to ride in between the cars and reach the patients in just a few moments. It took less than three minutes for me to reach the patients after first receiving the alert. The scene was chaotic. After taking stock of my surroundings to make sure the area was safe, I quickly assessed the situation and saw four people who suffered injuries. As the first responder on scene, I triaged the four victims who lay on the ground and began treating the one who looked like he needed help the most.

 

The first patient was semi-conscious. Luckily, I detected respiratory activity, so I raised his legs to increase the flow of oxygenated blood to his brain.  Moments later, he regained consciousness. I then attended to another victim who had been stabbed in the stomach. I put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding, then bandaged the wound and administered supplemental oxygen. As the man had lost a fair amount of blood, I opened an IV line to replenish the vital fluids he had lost.

With that patient now stable, I turned my attention to a third victim who had been shot in the hand.  I wiped away the blood and found that the wound was only superficial, as the bullet had not pierced the bone. I quickly bandaged his hand and moved on to the fourth victim, an older man with a head injury. The wound was minor but still bleeding, so I bandaged it and focused on helping him deal with shock, which was a greater cause for concern than his physical injury. I guided him through breathing exercises to calm him down.

I reassured all four of the traumatized victims and monitored their condition until the ambulances finally arrived nearly 30 minutes after me. I briefed the crew and helped transfer the victims into the ambulances.

As a nature lover, I love to travel outdoors. I drive a jeep and I’m often in the fields. That’s why United Hatzalah is a great fit for me. I get to help people and stay active. I became a volunteer EMT after encountering emergencies that in the fields, in forests, and on hiking trails. Until I became an EMT and United Hatzalah gave me all the equipment I need to do the job effectively, I wasn’t able to respond properly to off-road emergencies. Sometimes, I had no idea what to do. But now I can use my hobby and my skill set to help people wherever I am. It didn’t sit well with me that when emergencies would happen in an outdoor, remote setting, patients would often wait for hours for an ambulance crew or helicopter to arrive.  Now that I’m an EMT, patients in need near me get critical emergency care faster.

Hasan Masri is a lifeguard by profession and a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah. He lives in the town of Zemer and is one of the organization’s ambucycle drivers. Masri has been involved in EMS for many years.

 

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