To the point week of 08-07-08

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THE NURSE IN THE EMERGENCY room couldn’t quite understand all of the people who were pouring into her area on Monday night. She glanced at me with an “I don’t think I like this” look on her face, so I wandered over to check in the problem.

Late in the night at the University of Cincinnati Hospital, the city’s only Level One trauma center, I tried to help the lady understand small towns and the people who live in them. The second floor waiting room was filled to capacity to the point that hospital officials were not allowing anyone else to go up there, so people instead found a seat in the first floor area and sat down.

And waited.

A few people were brought in following a shooting in the city. We heard that a police officer had also been injured. We were informed that after 9 p.m. each evening the hospital goes on “lock down”, and that if we left the area that we were already in – we wouldn’t be allowed back in.

Well into lockdown, with Switzerland County people filling all sorts of seats and spilling out into the hallways, the lady on duty couldn’t make sense of it.

I explained that Rick and Laci Daugherty had been in a serious car accident, and that both had been airlifted to her hospital. I explained that all of these people had driven more than an hour to check on their conditions and to see if there was anything that they could do to help.

Most knew that there was nothing to do except pray – but they offered their help, anyway.

“Are ALL of these people family members?” the lady asked.

“Well,” I thought to myself. “You see, we live in a very small county where everyone knows everyone else and were many people are related by blood; but most of the time it’s just people knowing each other and taking care of each other and loving each other. We try and help out where we can and do what we can to make someone else’s pain a little less; their load a little lighter; their path a little straighter.”

“Yes. We’re all family,” I said.

Because we are.

People may never know the impact that they had on the emergency situation that arose on Monday and Tuesday. People came and sat. People offered whatever they had to help.

Those who couldn’t come sent text messages and made phone calls to cell phones.

People locked up houses and cared for animals left behind. Some people showed up because they couldn’t think of anything else to do.

So they came.

And people prayed.

I don’t know about all of those other people in that waiting room Monday night and Tuesday morning; but I could feel prayer going up for Rick and Laci not only there, but all over.

I personally knew that people were praying all over Switzerland County; all over Indiana; all over most of the country. We had heard from people in other states who were calling prayer chains with the news. Churches called to say that they were offering any assistance needed.

It was truly amazing.

And – I believe it’s having an impact.

I saw people come together and grieve and hug and share quiet moments. I saw people wander out and buy huge quantities of food for those not able to leave the hospital grounds. Sodas were purchased. Books and magazines were made available. Pillows and blankets were spread around.

People stood in hallways. They sat on floors. Some curled themselves into straight-backed chairs and tried to nap.

And the nurse didn’t quite understand.

Living in a city, she didn’t even know that many people, she told me – let alone know enough people well enough that they’d drive to the hospital to sit if she were injured.

“But that’s what we do in a small community,” I told her.

“You must live in a pretty special place,” she responded.

“Yes, we sure do,,” I said. “A very special place.”

*

There are factions of the community who have bashed the Switzerland County EMS and other emergency personnel at different times; but on behalf of the Daugherty family, I need to tell this community that the emergency workers who responded to the scene on Monday afternoon are heroes.

Things didn’t look good at one point, but hospital personnel said that both Rick and Laci were in better shape than was expected – and that the primary reason for that was the outstanding work that our EMS personnel did on the scene and during transport.

The men and women who run into situations like the accident on Monday should know that lives are saved everyday because of your dedication, and your work in a horrible situation on Monday along the River Road is very much appreciated.

*

As with many situations, there was a lot of information spreading around the county over the past few days.

Some of it has been accurate – some of it hasn’t been.

Rick Daugherty is in a private room at University Hospital, and although he is heavily medicated, his injuries will heal with time.

Laci Daugherty is in worse shape, but since I’ve known her since the day she was born – I can tell you that there’s a lot of fight in that tiny girl. She’s hard headed like her father, and she’s tough when the chips are down.

She has a long road to recovery, and doctors are watching her very closely over the next few days. She is in an intensive care unit, but she is getting the very best care that there is available.

The family continues to stand amazed at the outpouring of support from this community; and as information becomes available, it will be shared with everyone.