OHSU surgeon pulls over, helps train derailment victims - KPTV - FOX 12

OHSU surgeon pulls over, helps train derailment victims

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A surgeon who works at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital jumped in to save people after a train derailed over Interstate 5 near Tacoma Monday. 

He was one of the first people on scene because he was driving up Interstate 5 toward Seattle when the train derailment happened.

Though Dr. Nathan Selden said he didn’t have any medical supplies on him, there were enough fire trucks around so that they were never short.

Selden told FOX 12 that while he was driving up I-5, he saw southbound traffic slow down and then disappear. He said that’s when he heard ambulances and knew something was wrong.

“I can’t tell you how shocking it was in person,” he said. 

Selden said it was an unexpected sight, but he wanted to help in any way that he could.

“I was worried about getting in the way, but as soon as I talked to one of the firemen and one of the police there they said they really did need medical help with the team,” he said. 

So Selden said he and his son jumped into action.

“My son was with me and he came over and helped. Just talking to people, getting them over to the tents, lifting boxes that needed to be brought over with supplies. Things like that,” Selden said. 

Selden said there were already a dozen people in the triage area when he got there. He said some of them were walking, and some of them were being carried, but all of them were distraught from the devastation.

“Probably the worst was a young patient, young adult who had what looked like a pretty significant pelvic fracture and leg fracture. Severe pain, but was conscious and talking with us, who got stabilized, boarded up and got sent to one of the surrounding trauma centers,” Selden said.

He told FOX 12 emergency crews needed him to examine people and identify their injuries, and help patients who needed priority for the next available ambulance.

Selden said there was a handful of off-duty emergency responders, like himself, and members of the public who pulled over to see how they could help.

He said this is, by far, the largest traumatic event he’s ever been involved with. 

“I have stopped at a couple of accidents. I’ve never really been needed. I’ve helped patients with chest pain on an airplane, things like that. This is completely unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and, honestly, unlike anything I ever will experience,” Selden said. 

After Selden’s last patients were loaded onto ambulances, he said he and his son started to make their way back to Portland.

Selden said he’s grateful for the expertise of the EMT crews and was glad he could lend a hand outside of his normal environment: OHSU.

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