[5 min read]
In this article:
- Swedish RN Megan Williams received an award from the Washington Army National Guard for saving the life of a soldier who was injured when his truck overturned on I-90.
- Williams is a trained trauma nurse with the skillset needed to handle the accident scene.
- Colleagues at the Oct. 5 award ceremony commended Williams' quick thinking and lifesaving actions.
Every Swedish caregiver is a hero. But in early October, Swedish RN Megan Williams, received special recognition of her heroism from Washington Army National Guard for saving the life of a soldier, who was in a critical car accident on I-90 this past July.
On Oct. 5, at a ceremony held in Swedish First Hill's Glaser Auditorium with her colleagues and members of the National Guard in attendance, Williams was presented National Guard's Commander's Award for Public Service for her quick thinking and lifesaving action.
Williams, who has been a travel nurse at Swedish but is transitioning to a perioperative nurse educator at First Hill, was on I-90 heading to the Enchantment Lakes near Leavenworth to camp for a dawn hike in July, when she spotted a huge cloud of dust on the road ahead.
Above: Swedish RN Megan Williams, who this July saved the life of a severely injured soldier trapped in an overturned military vehicle. On Oct. 5, the Washington Army National Guard presented her with an award for her bravery. Top photo: Megan Williams, National Guard members and representatives from Swedish leadership at First Hill's Glaser Auditorium for the award ceremony.
A Humvee had overturned into the side of a bridge just past Snoqualmie. While the driver was able to escape, another soldier was unconscious and trapped on the passenger side. Williams immediately pulled over to assist. She was fully prepared; Williams has spent most of her career as an operating room nurse for trauma patients and is no stranger to remaining calm in emergency situations or while treating patients with critical injuries. Because of her expertise and experience, Williams was able to keep focused in assessing the passenger and his injuries. In fact, she crawled into the vehicle, where she was able to determine that he would need helicopter transport to help ensure the timely care he needed to survive. She also used the driver’s belt to apply the tourniquet that likely saved his arm. she was also able to prepare incoming emergency responders about his condition.
“I’ve seen a lot of chaos, so working in a scenario like this doesn’t bother me so much anymore,” Williams says. “If I was in that same situation, or it was my brother or friend, I hope the right person with the right skill set would see the accident and do the same thing.”
After emergency responders took the passenger via life flight to an intensive care unit, Williams continued her drive to the Enchantments for her hike, hoping she would hear if the soldier survived. Williams did get that call. A National Guard battalion leader informed her that the soldier did indeed survive, thanks to her response. Weeks later, Williams was able to meet him while he was recovering. She was also notified that the National Guard wanted to thank her with an award. At the Oct. 5 ceremony friends, co-workers and Washington National Guard members expressed gratitude and admiration for Williams' courage and dedication.
This is not the first time she's handled an emergency response outside of work. Williams was a mall in Charlotte, N.C., during a shooting and treated gunshot wounds on the site. While many of us can't imagine facing such high-pressure situations, Williams says being prepared is part of her job.
“The National Guard went above and beyond, I wasn’t expecting anything at all, I was just grateful to get the phone call that he survived transport," Williams says. "It’s very generous of them to go out of their way to award me, it’s clear they care deeply about their own."
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