A Personal Story

“I was well aware that what was happening to me was a repeat of what happened in my mother’s accident and that I could die. But this time, circumstances were different… “
Professor Marcy J.T. Smith MS, RN, FAIS, BCETS

Professor Marcy J.T. Smith MS, RN, FAIS, BCETS

The tragic death of my mother resulting from a horrific accident near our home was a terrible loss. While walking on a crosswalk, an impaired driver failed to slow down and stop. He struck her then dragged her under his car causing catastrophic crushing injuries and massive blood loss. My mother was eventually transported to Mass General Hospital and died 3 days later.

As a Professor of Nursing and Health Sciences, I had wondered, would my mother’s outcome have been different had there been advanced emergency services to provide the urgent pre-hospital care available at that time? The following year, when the opportunity arose to participate in the formation of the Cape and Islands EMS System, it had been my way to honor the life of my mother.

I could not have foreseen that circumstances would come full circle, and that I would need, and be the recipient of, advanced care from this very system that I was contributing to.

On Labor Day weekend 1998, when I stopped near Exit 11 of the Mid Cape Highway to render emergency care to an accident victim, an approaching driver failed to stop. He ran over me with his right front wheel, dragged me, stopped, and then backed up over me. I sustained catastrophic, crushing internal injuries, multiple fractures, lacerations, and massive blood loss.

I was well aware that what was happening to me was a repeat of what happened in my mother’s accident and that I could die. But this time, circumstances were different. Harwich Rescue, already on its way to the scene, reached me almost immediately. They utilized their advanced pre-hospital training to stabilize me and transported me to a Med Flight helicopter for transfer to the Beth Israel Deaconess Level 1 Trauma Center.

I will always remember and be grateful to Paramedic William L. Flynn Jr., now Director of the CIEMSS, and his team for their skilled care. I would have died at the scene of the accident. Though some have described my survival and recovery as miraculous, I know Harwich Rescue was the critical first link of that miracle.