Students experience real-life trauma in mock crash

HARLINGEN — Screams and sirens are heard while blood can be seen at a school parking lot.

A distressed mother yells out for her son in the wrecked car begging to hold him.

It all sounds alarming. But it is only a drill.

TSTC Emergency Medical Services students put their knowledge and emotions to the test yesterday during their first mock drill.

Paramedic and nursing students, as well as fire cadets from the Weslaco Fire Department experienced what it would be like to aid those involved in a car crash.

Even acting skills were in full display for the ones pretending to be injured or distraught family members. The point was to make it as realistic as possible.

“It was very realistic indeed. It is scary, to treat very critical patients. But with this you get a feel of what it is,” said Janelle Castro, one of the paramedic students involved.

“They didn’t give us a heads up of how the drill would be, but they told us to practice what we’ve learned.”

Both paramedic and licensed vocational nurse students practiced what could possibly be a team scenario in a near future.

Paramedic students had to mobilize the victims before taking them in an ambulance to be treated by nurses at a simulated hospital.

Miriam Miranda, a nursing student, pretended to be a family member.

“We were able to see reactions; we have to deal with more than just a patient that is in trouble. This let us see anxiety and emotional problems,” Miranda said. “We get to learn a lot of stuff in this program. You are dealing with compassion and different people and it is very fulfilling.”

The drill was conducted in partnership with the Weslaco Fire Department, which brought its bus and firefighters, and the Harlingen Fire Department, which used its tool to break victims out of the vehicle. TSTC campus police were also on the scene.

TSTC Police Chief Eduardo Patino believes the activity is the perfect way to get students to learn valuable skills.

“Every year we create a mock drill, something where we can engage and implement the emergency respondents plan. By bringing the paramedics and nursing students and having them work together really helps out to see how they are going to react in a real emergency,” Patino said.

“I think our students did an amazing job; how they handled the situation overall was done the way it should’ve been done. The more we do these types of events, the better we do,” he said.

Making sure they practiced what they have been learning in class, the paramedic students were graded on this activity by their instructors,

Ruben Ramirez, instructor of the paramedic class, reviewed his students after the drill.

Ramirez had assisted mock drills in the past, but this one was the first with students.

“I think this is something that is going to allow our students to build up on their assessment on trauma patients and use once they get their certification to take out on the field,” he said.