NEWS | Dec. 19, 2016

Virginia Air Guard members assist accident victim

By Staff Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham and Senior Airman Kellyann Novak 192nd Fighter Wing

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -Two members of the Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Medical Group, put their skills and training to use at a Nov. 19 traffic crash.

After wrapping up their duty day, Maj. Kelly Niedzwiecki and Maj. Zach Hoffman were headed downtown for dinner when they heard a loud screeching noise.

"While sitting at the traffic light," said Hoffman. "We heard a loud noise and saw a silver truck rolling through the intersection."

Hoffman, an emergency medicine physician in the Richmond, Virginia, area and 192nd medical doctor, went to aid a woman who was in the accident.  Hoffman's experience told him to leave her in the vehicle until emergency medical services arrived. However, that changed instantly when black smoke began to spew from the truck's engine.

"Somebody offered a knife and cut the seat belt, and we all pulled her out," Hoffman said. Once she was moved to safety, Hoffman performed a rapid medical assessment to check her airway, breathing and circulation to ensure there were no physical signs of injury.

As a full-time Medical Plans and Operations officer, Niedzwiecki recognized the importance of scene safety. She maintained the gathering crowd while directing traffic away from the scene.

"I knew I was not needed at the scene," said Niedzwiecki. "So I did not go over and confuse things more. I felt like we all knew that we should stay in our place and not get involved in something that was already being taken care of."

Col. Ed Rutherford, commander of the 192nd Medical Group, was notified of Maj. Niedzwiecki and Maj. Hoffman's actions.

"While it is no surprise to any of us in the Med Group, these life-saving events are part of what we do, said Rutherford. " We are fortunate to have highly trained, dedicated and combat-proven professionals as an asset to the 192nd Fighter Wing, Virginia Air National Guard and community at large."

Shortly after, an emergency response team arrived and took over the medical care. The woman was transported to an emergency room by ambulance and, according to Dr. Hoffman's assessment, is expected to make a full recovery.