Sol­dier used ball­point pen to save crash vic­tim, Army says

The Sun Herald - - Front Page - BY MATTHEW MARTINEZ [email protected]

Army Sgt. Trey Troney says he was on his way home to Mississippi for the holidays when he saw the man­gled truck on the side of In­ter­state 20.

Troney, sta­tioned at Fort Bliss in El Paso, could make out the sil­hou­ette of the driver, slumped over the steer­ing wheel of the gray pickup as he made the 1,085-mile drive home, so he stopped, ac­cord­ing to an Army news re­lease.

The man in­side the truck, iden­ti­fied by the Army as Longview, Texas, res­i­dent Jeff Udger, had a bloody head wound, and was still con­scious enough to jok­ingly re­sist when Troney took off his New Or­leans Saints hoodie and started to wrap it around Udger’s head to stop the bleed­ing.

“Well, this is Cow­boy coun­try, so I don’t know how I feel about you wrap­ping me up in a Saints hoodie,” Udger told Troney, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Udger passed out from blood loss as Troney walked back to his Jeep to see what kind of first aid sup­plies he could use to help. Mean­while, first re­spon­ders were on their way to the scene in the town just out­side Lub­bock, ac­cord­ing to Army Times, and Troney re­al­ized that Udger had a col­lapsed lung.

Troney had just com­pleted a ro­ta­tion at the Army’s Na­tional Train­ing Cen­ter in Fort Ir­win, Calif., where he learned com­bat first aid, the re­lease states. He also had a nee­dle for chest de­com­pres­sion in the Jeep.

Chest de­com­pres­sion is an emer­gency pro­ce­dure where a sur­geon (usu­ally) shoves a nee­dle down through a pa­tient’s breast plate and into a lung. The nee­dle isn’t filled with medicine, though — it sim­ply al­lows for air­flow into the dam­aged lung, so the pa­tient can breathe while re­spon­ders ad­dress other trauma or trans­port the pa­tient to a med­i­cal facility, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Health.

Just one prob­lem: the nee­dle in Troney’s Jeep wasn’t long enough to reach Udger’s col­lapsed lung once it got in­side Udger’s chest cav­ity, Army Times re­ported.

So Troney scram­bled, and im­pro­vised. He took the plas­tic tube out of a ball­point pen, emp­tied it out and at­tached it to his nee­dle like he was MacGyver, ac­cord­ing to the news re­lease.

“I took the (nee­dle) and put it right in the hole and kind of wig­gled [the pen] in with my hand in be­tween the ribs and you just started to see the bub­bles come out of the tip, and I was like, ‘OK, we’re good,’ ” Troney said, ac­cord­ing to the Army news re­lease.

Troney wor­ried that he might get sued if he made a mis­take dur­ing the or­deal, the Army re­lease said. In­stead, Udger praised Troney’s ac­tions and told the Army that his doctors ex­pect him to make a full re­cov­ery.

“In an ur­gent sit­u­a­tion [Troney] showed amaz­ing pa­tience and con­tin­u­ous care,” Udger said, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. “He kept talk­ing to me and acted as if the sit­u­a­tion was no pres­sure at all.”

For Troney, it was all about duty.

“I was glad I was in the right place at the right time,” Troney said, ac­cord­ing to the El Paso Times.

U.S. Army

Army Sgt. Trey Troney is cred­ited with sav­ing the life of Jeff Udger of Texas after Udger was in­jured in a crash.

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