Lake Murray, SC (Paul Kirby) – A serious car crash caused at least one patient to be trapped in the wreckage of an automobile yesterday evening in the 400 block of Shore Road west of Lexington. The accident happened about 5:50 p.m. and caused the road to be completely shut down for quite some time.
EMS and fire crews from several Lexington County stations responded to assist in cutting the injured from the vehicle. For the safety of the rescuers and injured, Shore Road was closed and traffic backed up for several miles. Even some of the responding crews had difficulty getting to the accident that occurred near where Shore intersects with Ervin Price Road.
It took firefighters about 30 minutes to free the trapped individual using special rescue tools. During that time, the EMS crew cared for the injured patients. During their assessment, it was decided that the most severely injured was hurt to the extent that he would benefit from helicopter transport versus a trip to the hospital by ground. At that point, the Lifenet helicopter was requested and responded to a landing zone at Lake Murray Baptist Church.
A fire engine from another station was dispatched to that LZ to stand fire guard and provide safety for the helicopter, its crew, the teams on the ground, and the patient they would be transporting. Those fire crews not only guide the helicopter crew by radio as it lands and takes off, advising them of hazards like power-lines in the area, but they also clear the area of any loose trash or other debris that might be sucked into the chopper's engine or blades. This process prevents the chopper from being damaged during landing and take-off, either causing the helicopter to make a hard landing or to crash.
Once the patient was loaded into the helicopter, that individual was transported to Palmetto Richland’s Trauma Center. That is the only Level I trauma center in the Columbia area.
Level I Trauma Centers are required to maintain higher staffing levels of both doctors and nurses with specialized training to treat patients with severe traumatic injuries. Once a patient is transported into a trauma bay, the waiting team swings into action, doing everything from x-rays to invasive procedures that might save the patient’s life.
Once the patient had been extricated and transported away from the scene, one lane of Shore Road was reopened. The EMS and fire crews were assisted by deputies from the sheriff’s office, as well as troopers from the SCHP in dealing with the major traffic issues.
The accident is under investigation by the SCHP.