When Jenny Butcher set off for work one icy morning in January, little did she know that she’d end up rewarded for her professional dedication and nursing skills in a crisis.
Jenny left her home near Thirsk in North Yorkshire and as she was driving to work at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, along the A19 when she witnessed the aftermath of a road traffic accident involving a car, a tractor and two lorries.
The 30 year-old case manager, pictured right, parked her car and raced to assist the drivers. The driver of the car was a young man who was in a worse state than the lorry drivers, so Jenny stayed with the young man until the paramedics arrived at the scene.
Once Jenny was happy that she could contribute no further and was able to leave the scene, she continued on to work. When she arrived, apologising for being over two hours late, she stayed on duty for a further 12 hours.
This level of dedication to duty and care led her colleague Amanda Cormican to nominate her for a ‘My NHS Hero’ award, which she has now received.
Modest Jenny said: “I was travelling to work northbound on the A19 from my home near Thirsk to James Cook at around 6.30am. Just before I got to the Crathorne turn off, the traffic slowed. There had been a collision between two lorries, a car and a tractor. There were no emergency services at the scene and other cars were just passing by. I saw two men staggering in road and decided to pull over to see if I could help.
“On getting out of the car I could see one of them was covered in blood and seemed quite disorientated. A works maintenance van approached and also stopped. I used the back of the van to lay one of the men down so I could stabilise his spine and provide him with first aid. He had sustained a significant head injury and had cuts to his skull. I applied pressure to the wound to stem the bleeding and once this was under control I covered him in black bin bags and my coat as it was minus ten degrees and I was conscious of the risk of hypothermia.
“I left him with one of the workmen while I went to see if there was and further casualties. I only had a thin jumper on so was frozen myself! I ran about a quarter of a mile down the A19 to an articulated wagon that had shed his load all over the road. It was an assault course of potatoes, turnip, carrots, along with car and lorry debris. After realising the lorry driver was alright I ran back to the casualty.
“His friend by this time was complaining of chest pain, I provided him with reassurance that it was due to the force of the impact on his sternum and from the symptoms he described it was unlikely to be anything sinister. The casualty was losing consciousness so I focused my attention on him. I sat behind his head supporting his spine and as he was beginning to intermittently obstruct his airway. I performed a jaw thrust to keep his airway clear.
“Due to the terrible weather conditions it took more than half an hour for the ambulance to arrive. So I focused on talking to the young man to try and keep him conscious. When the ambulance did arrive, I assisted the emergency services to log roll, head block and put him on the spinal board.
“I arrived at work over two and a half hours later to a very concerned case management team. I was covered in blood, very cold and a little shaky to say the least.”
The major casualty was taken by ambulance to The James Cook University Hospital for further treatment.