Words and pictures by WO2 (SMI) Peter Russell/County PR Officer
What started as an ordinary Saturday night took an unexpected turn when Cadet Corporal Lauren Rae, aged 16, from Portishead Platoon, Somerset Army Cadets, was having a sleepover with a few friends. A friend called late in the evening asking for her help, saying that an elderly woman had been discovered lying injured nearby.
Cpl Rae and her friend, George Richards, a St John Ambulance cadet, were fortunately both First Aid trained so they ran to the woman’s aid as fast as possible even though they were barefoot, grabbing towels and phones before leaving.
Arriving at the victim, Cpl Rae noted that someone was already on the phone to the emergency services so she checked to see that no other dangers existed that could cause harm to anyone before continuing with her assessment. Cpl Rae established that the victim was Hazel Richards, aged 61, and could see that while she was conscious and breathing she was also panicking and in pain with obvious bleeding around her head.
Cpl Rae then sat down and kept pressure on her forehead with the materials that were already at hand. Within the first few minutes she checked the severity of the injury to find that she had a large gash on the left side of her forehead and the surrounds to her eye were puffy and red. She then continued with the pressure, asking others to elevate the patient’s legs gently and encouraging her to stay awake. Hazel has been hunting for her cat in the dark and tripped over a ditch, landing on her face on the concrete road. By midnight her pulse had weakened so Cpl Rae phoned the emergency services again to be told that it was a busy Saturday night and no estimate could be given for the arrival time of an ambulance. A local vet supplied blankets to keep her warm as it was a chilly night, with the victim’s husband arriving thirty minutes later to help comfort her. Fortunately at 00:45 a police car stopped to check and the police called out the duty police paramedic. By this time Hazel was drifting in and out of consciousness but they were fortunate enough to receive a small medical kit from the vets which contained foil blankets which they placed over her as she was by then shivering and very cold.
Finally, at round 02:00, the paramedic arrived and took over. He then called the emergency services again and the incident was prioritised for urgent treatment. The ambulance eventually arrived at 03:15, taking Hazel off to the hospital where fortunately she is on the road to recovery.
Our warmest congratulations to Cpl Rae for demonstrating the very highest standards of her Army Cadets’ training - the ability to save lives. We are immensely proud of her and her timely actions.