Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Video game trains a good samaritan to administer first aid

Paxton Galvanek, a 28-year-old gamer from North Carolina, witnesses a serious car accident last November. An SUV driving on a highway in the other direction flipped over several times and started smoking as if burning.

Mr. Galvanek stopped his car and ran to the overturned SUV, quickly pulled one of the passengers out and escorted him to a safe location. He then went back to the SUV and pulled the driver out of the car. He quickly assessed the extent of the driver's injuries and treated them appropriately. He waited with the injured passengers until a medically trained army soldier stopped at the accident, left the injured men in his care and carried on with his journey.

It turns out Mr. Galvanek had had no formal medical training prior to stopping at the accident site. Instead he had learned his first aid skills from playing America's Army, a first-person shooter video game produced by The United States Army.

In the game the players can play the past of a combat medic, but only after they go through a virtual medical training class. It is this virtual training that Mr. Galvanek thanks for his first aid skills.

After the accident he wrote to the America's Army team to thank them:

I have received no prior medical training and can honestly say that because of the training and presentations within America's Army, I was able to help and possibly save the injured men. As I look back on the events of that day, the training that I received in the America's Army video game keeps coming to mind.

I remember vividly in section four of the game’s medic training, during the field medic scenarios, I had to evaluate the situation and place priority on the more critically wounded. In the case of this accident, I evaluated the situation and placed priority on the driver of the car who had missing fingers. I then recalled that in section two of the medic training, I learned about controlled bleeding. I noticed that the wounded man had severe bleeding that he could not control. I used a towel as a dressing and asked the man to hold the towel on his wound and to raise his hand above his head to lessen the blood flow which allowed me to evaluate his other injuries which included a cut on his head.

Well done Paxton!

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