VA Employee Veteran Saves Lives - Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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VA Employee Veteran Saves Lives

Houston VA Employee Veteran Uses Military Training to Save Lives

Houston VA employee Veteran Shanita Campbell used military training to save lives.

Friday, September 11, 2015

When Houston VA Medical Center employee Shanita Campbell left for a few days of Air Force Reserve training duty in San Antonio last month she never dreamed she would end up saving lives before returning to work at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.  Campbell, who has been an Air Force Reserve medic for almost 20 years and worked at the VA for the past seven years, was still in her uniform driving back to Houston after seven days of military training when she came across a huge car accident.  She, another Reservist and a passerby who also happened to be a nurse, immediately stopped to take control of the scene and render aid to several of the severely injured involved.

“When I came across the accident on the highway, I knew I had to help,” said Campbell.  “I did a preliminary check of five of the accident victims and determined who needed help and then began to offer medical attention to those in the most need until local paramedics arrived,” she said. 

Five adults and one child were heading across Texas when they lost control of their vehicle after a tire blew out.  The rollover accident ejected two of the six passengers in the vehicle.

Campbell, an aerospace medical technician in the Air Force, believes the emergency medical technical refresher training she attended right before the accident honed her skills and prepared her for the accident scene. She also credits her VA training as a Train the Trainer Decontamination team member here at the MEDVAMC in helping her gain control of a very chaotic environment and begin the triage process.  Even when local paramedics arrived on the scene, Campbell continued to assist in stabilizing the accident victims and rendering aid.

Although several of the accident victims were severely injured and will require long term rehab care, the family members involved in the accident credit Campbell with saving their loved ones lives. She has kept in touch with the people she helped and plans to visit one of the accident victims in the hospital soon. 

“I was so touched to receive a call from the family of one of the accident victims thanking me for saving their daughter’s life,” Campbell said.  “I’m so glad I was there to help.”

At the Houston VA, Campbell is a secretary to the Diagnostic Therapeutic Care Line Executive.  Her boss, Dr. Meena Vij, says she was not surprised to hear of Campbell’s role in saving lives at the scene of accident.  “Shanita is one of our most valuable employees.  She is always ready to spring into action and do whatever it takes to serve our Veterans and get the job done.  We are very proud to have her as a member of our VA team.”

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