Even as she lay trapped inside an under turned bus in the middle of Bolivia’s salt flats- two hours from civilization- this trauma nurse was not afraid to die.
“Everyone was evacuating the bus, but I could see through the emergency window, and I can see people walking and I could see people bleeding, but I couldn’t help them.” Says the Nurse,we’ll call her Angel, who was on her second week on a Christian medical mission trip to Bolivia. ” I was what they needed. I mean I’m a trauma nurse. That’s my skill.”
What was supposed to be a bus trip to bring medical supplies to another faith-based ministry in the remote town of Llica quickly turned into a deadly accident March 16, 2014 along Salar de Uyuni the world’s largest salt flats. Two hours into the trip a SUV clipped the bus, turned it over its side. The bus slide several yards with Angel’s left hand trapped between the window frame and the salty ground before coming to a stop. Three people in the SUV died and 16 were injured on the bus.
Angel’s instincts as a trauma nurse kicked in immediately, she said, but she couldn’t do anything for those around her as she suffered a head injury and her left hand was trapped.
” I thought,’ I was going to die here if I didn’t get out’ I just prayed to the Lord, that if I die it’s OK I’m ready, I told God I wasn’t afraid of dying.” She said, “But I prayed to him to either take me or get me out of here. That was my mentality at that point.”
She had her own life to worry about now. She was loosing blood fast, she said, because a major artery in her arm was cut.
An ambulance was at least an hour out, so Angel took matters into her own hands. To stop the bleeding, she made a makeshift tourniquet out of a string from a friend’s cowboy hat. She had another woman use a soup spoon to start digging Angel’s hand out from the hard cement-like rock salt.
Once freed from the bus, Angel spend several days in the hospital undergoing two surgeries in Bolivia before being released back to the USA. She lost four fingers on her left hand, and the fifth had to be amputated.
Strength through adversity.
Although doctors we unable to save her fingers, Angel is on the road to recovery at her parent’s house.
Since the accident, Angel has worked to build up her strength and range of motion through twice-a-week in home OT. Angel hopes to inspire others through her experience. She still plans on being a trauma nurse, although it won’t be the same hospital, cause of her injure she’s moved back home with her parents from TN to IL. Where today she continues being a nurse at a local hospital.
“I would do it all over again. I think of the people I did get to help and meet through this entire process. Angel said of her time providing medical care to the people of Bolivia.”It’s not my story,it’s God’s story, if one person can know God or Jesus through this, it’s all worth it to me”
As of today Angel is packing for another medical trip to Thailand for the next 15 days, I pray she has safe travels, and no flash backs, she went through PTSD bad last time. I also pray she can help everyone she can. She’s one of the bravest women I know.
Those people driving the SUV that hit the bus, although 3 died, one ran away without a scratch, and come to find out they were gypsies trying to rob the bus by wrecking the bus. They didn’t get so luck, because God was watching that bus.
This is a TRUE story just changed her name!