Canadian paramedic treats daughter in fatal car accident without recognizing her

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Paramedic Jayme Erickson spent more than 20 minutes rescuing a seriously injured accident victim. At the time, the Canadian paramedic did not realize that the person she was treating was her 17-year-old daughter – whom she had not recognized due to the severity of her injuries, and who would die a few days later.

My worst nightmare as a paramedic has come true,” Erickson wrotedocumenting the details of the Nov. 15 collision that killed her only child.

As an emergency responder, Erickson was the first to arrive at the scene of a serious car accident in rural Airdrie, Alberta, where she and her colleague found two teenagers driving home from a dog walk injured after their vehicle collided with a truck.

The passenger was trapped, critically injured and had to be extricated from the vehicle by firefighters, Erickson said. As crews worked to remove them and fly them to a nearby hospital, Erickson remained inside the vehicle by the patient’s side for more than 20 minutes, tending to her and making sure her airway was clear, and she later recalled, “what I could.”

After an air ambulance flew the passenger to Calgary’s Foothills Medical Center, Erickson returned home at the end of his shift.

Within minutes the doorbell rang. It was the police who informed her that her daughter Montana had been in an accident, so she rushed to the emergency room.

“When she entered the room, she was horrified to find the girl she had been sitting with in the back of the crumpled vehicle, holding on to life … was Jayme’s own daughter. Jayme was unknowingly keeping her own daughter alive,” a colleague said Richard Reed to reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

Montana died on November 18, three days after the crash, after doctors told Erickson that Montana’s injuries were “not compatible with life.”

The driver of the car and the passenger in the truck survived, according to local media. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say an investigation into the crash is underway.

“The pain I feel is like no pain I have ever felt, it is indescribable,” Erickson wrote. “The critically injured patient I had just treated was my own flesh and blood. My only child. My mini-me.”

Erickson wrote on social media that while she was “grateful” for 17 years with her daughter, she couldn’t help but wonder, “What would you have been, my little girl? Who would you have been?”

In the wake of Montana’s death, other first responders have highlighted the emotional toll that comes with being an emergency worker, with many paramedics fearing they might one day be called to an incident where a victim is known to them.

Several emergency workers joined Erickson, her husband and Reed, who has served as the family’s spokesman, at the press conference Tuesday to show their support. Many were visibly emotional as they spoke to reporters.

“Jayme’s traumatic story affects first responders across this country,” said Paramedic Deana Davison. “It shows once again that this horrible nightmare can happen to any of us.”

Speaking to reporters after her daughter’s death, Erickson said Tuesday that Montana was “so beautiful.” She said the teenager was listed as an organ donor so her death had given others a chance at life.

“We are so happy that our little girl lives on through others and in the wake of this tragedy she has saved other people,” Erickson said.

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