‘We Had This Gut Feeling…’

Fort Martin nurses Rachel Wyatt (l.) and Deveny Atha are credited with saving the life of an injured contract worker. ​​

November 9, 2020

​The 13th of October turned out to be both an unlucky and a lucky day for a Generation contract worker.

While on his way to his outage job at the Fort Martin Power Station, the worker fell down a series of steps that descend the hillside from the parking lot to the plant entrance.

“I got a call almost immediately,” said Fort Martin plant nurse Deveny Atha. “On my way to the scene, I heard the call for the plant loss control and rescue squad over the loudspeakers.”

Rachel Wyatt, a contract nurse working at Fort Martin during its current maintenance outage, arrived moments before Deveny. Both nurses could see right away the worker had serious injuries.

“He had a large cut on his left hand that was bleeding profusely, and a contusion over his right eye,” Deveny said “He’d been wearing his hard hat when he fell. That likely saved him from a more serious head injury.”

The injured worker was alert. The nurses determined his vital signs were good, but his body was contorted with his leg twisted beneath him.
“I started asking questions to ascertain the extent of his injuries, while also trying to control the bleeding from his hand injury,” said Rachel. “His right side was bothering him, and he wasn’t able to move a whole lot from the awkward position he was in.”

The plant emergency squad arrived within minutes, bringing what’s known as a “jump bag,” equipped with emergency medical supplies.
“He was complaining of severe pain in his hip and side. We put a cervical collar on him,” Deveny said. “But we both had this gut feeling that the less we moved him the better.”

Rachel added: “I told him that I knew it was uncomfortable, but that he needed to stay in the same position until the ambulance arrived. As medical professionals, we just knew that it was best to keep him still.”

Deveny and Rachel kept talking with the worker, keeping him alert while asking about his medical history.

When the ambulance arrived, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) placed the worker onto a backboard. During the
move, he started bleeding profusely from a cut on his leg.

The nurses again reacted quickly. “We cut off his pant leg and jacket,” Deveny said, “and we got a pressure dressing from the plant rescue team’s jump bag and put it on his leg to staunch the bleeding.”

With the bleeding under control, the EMTs rushed the worker to the hospital. Doctors eventually had to place a coil in the worker’s femoral artery to stop the bleeding.

The nurses’ decision to keep the worker still with his leg twisted beneath him had
prevented severe bleeding.

“Doctors told us that the nurses’ actions saved his life,” said Fort Martin Director Dan Coldren. “If he had been moved, he would likely have bled to death within minutes.”

Instead, the worker is expected to make a full recovery.

“I cannot speak highly enough of the quick thinking and the actions that Deveny and Rachel performed under extreme pressure, along with those of the plant loss control team,” said Dan.​