Thursday 23 September 2021 | 10:22
The sidewalks around Allegiant Stadium last month were hot and crowded with impatient football fans approaching the Raiders’ field for a preseason game, the first contest in front of a live audience.
Liz Groesbeck was in the back of a carpool also heading to the game, on a first date, at a red light at Valley View Boulevard and Russell Road.
A student at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, her days are busy and it was an opportunity to relax. But also as a medical student, when she heard screams and saw a man on his back about 20 feet away, she had to jump out of her car and take action. She didn’t know what had happened, but she guessed someone needed help.
An SUV had jumped off the curb, hit the man, and knocked him down with enough force to ram a light pole. On the ground, Groesbeck discovered a horrific scene: the man was struggling to breathe, was unresponsive and was bleeding profusely.
âWhen I arrived I understood why people were screaming,â she said. âOne of his arms was completely cut off from his body. “
Groesbeck, a third-year student, had just completed a block of intense hands-on training in general emergency surgery the day before. There was nothing she could do about the man’s arm and she knew nothing about the internal bleeding or the spinal injuries. But a major artery runs through the upper arm, clearly putting this patient in danger of rapidly bleeding to death.
With a medical student‘s assistant – whose name she didn’t understand – Groesbeck used a witness’s belt as a tourniquet on the man’s bleeding shoulder and used passers-by shirts to sweep his mouth, which was filled with blood from serious facial wounds.
She asked someone to call 911 and others to comfort the man’s wife and protect her from the horrific scene.
With help, Groesbeck made the patient as stable as possible for the 5-10 minutes it took for paramedics to come. She’s not sure how long it took, as time bends strangely in a situation like this.
Then, using a police officer’s disinfectant wipes, she washed off blood and continued the walk to Allegiant with her googly-eyed date, explained to her family why she was in late and washed again in a stadium bathroom before watching the Raiders defeat the Seattle Seahawks.
In addition to the man with an amputated arm, a pedestrian suffered a broken arm in the collision. The two were not named in a Metropolitan Police report.
Ashleigh Nicole Bacon, 33, was arrested the same day on charges related to the accident and held in the Clark County Detention Center on August 15, according to jail records.
Bacon was being held on two counts each of DUI felony and failure to stop at the scene of an accident, all felony, and one count each of speeding and driving without a driver’s license, according to court logs of justice of Las Vegas. She remained in jail without the possibility of bail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for last week.
Groesbeck saw a lot of blood in his surgical training, but it was in a sterile hospital environment, where she expected to see him, with highly trained colleagues. While it was about saving lives, it was not about trauma or surgery in the field, but rather appendectomies and clot removal.
Three years ago, she was the first person to be in a car accident in Henderson. She tried, but paramedics told her the patient was beyond help. However, that didn’t come back to her when she stepped out of the Allegiant Stadium. She went into work mode.
Although most of the people around her have no medical training, they have also stepped up their efforts. She said Las Vegans cares about them, and she loves them about them.
âWe are a huge metropolis, but we also care about our own. When something like this happens, we don’t have people stepping over them and going on their way, âGroesbeck said. âSo when we asked for belts to make a tourniquet, before I could even look up, three belts were put back in the circle around him. When I asked for some kind of fabric, I was given like five shirts.
Although she had no contact with the injured man, she discovered through contacts in the medical community that he was released from the hospital alive. She doesn’t want to invade his privacy by extending her hand, but she would be happy to meet him.
She wrote a thank you note to her professor of surgery, Dr. Douglas Fraser, head of trauma at the University Medical Center, after learning that her patient had survived.
âLiz was in the field and put herself in danger in an uncontrolled environment. Usually I don’t like to hear about students risking their lives trying to help others – they don’t have the protective gear, they don’t have the big red trucks with flashing lights. , or partners to protect them on stage, âFraser said. âIt was definitely above and beyond. I am very proud of Liz and happy that she is doing well and that the patient is alive thanks to her heroic actions.
Groesbeck shares the credit.
âI think a lot of factors worked well for him. I think he was very lucky on perhaps the most unlucky day of his life, âshe said. “I think a lot of people’s effort saved his life.”
Ricardo Torres-Cortez contributed to this report