Last week a school bus tipped over in Searsboro, 11 miles south of Grinnell, with 19 students and a bus driver on board. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. That sort of call from emergency responders does get a hospital revved into its highest gear. The driver and one student were transported by ambulance to GRMC with minor injuries. Of course the ER was ready and easily cared for both patients.
We anticipated the other 18 students would also be coming to the hospital to get checked out and so the disaster alert was put out and we were ready with extra personnel, juice boxes, and space for parents and friends. We waited and no one came. We called the school and found out that most of the students were picked up at the scene by parents and taken to the Lynnville/Sully school before any officials from the school ever arrived. Another bus took the remaining students to the school.
In a conversation with the superintendent, it was decided rather than get the students stressed from getting back on a bus and coming to GRMC, we would bring GRMC to the children. I loaded up my Buick with our ER Physician, Dr. John Bambara; two nurses, Terri Kelling and Doris Rindels; and a social worker, Linda Romero, and off we went. Dr. Ryan Dahlby Albright generously volunteered on his day off to take charge of the ER while we were gone.
We set up a triage center in a gathering room near the main entrance and with the school’s assistance called all the parents asking for permission to evaluate each of their children. Each child, ranging in grades from kindergarten through high school, filed in and was thoroughly screened. Most were totally uninjured, while a few had minor bumps and scrapes. One child was referred back to the hospital for further evaluation.
I enjoyed talking to each of the children about their unexpected topsy-turvy ride that morning and leaned that they had just practiced their “bus escape” drill earlier that week. One little tike told me the big kids helped the little kids out the back door. He said, “we kind of slid down the open door…it was fun!” Kids are so resilient.
The superintendent was great to work with and thanked us over and over again for coming to the school. I was sure glad no one was seriously injured!
This event brought a slightly new twist to our slogan: “We are here for you when you need us”…in this case: “We are ‘there’ for you when you need us”!