Above the Call

Off‑duty CDCR nurse helps family on remote highway

Woman wearing nurse scrubs.
HDSP RN Tammy Barton stopped to assist a family whose car was overturned on a remote stretch of road.

By Lt. Gregory Crowe
High Desert State Prison

Northeast California is a land of majestic views, wilderness and remote roadways is not the place to have car trouble, let alone be in a single-vehicle accident. When a High Desert State Prison (HDSP) employee was on her way to work, she came across a vehicle flipped over on an icy road.

The incident was in early March 2018 following a snow storm. HDSP Registered Nurse Tammy Barton was driving to work on Highway 139 in a remote part of Lassen County when she came upon a vehicle upside down on the roadway.

Weather conditions were severe with snow fall and temperatures in the single digits. Two children and their parents were wandering around outside the vehicle. The mother was pregnant with a delivery due date in two weeks.

RN Barton immediately assessed each of the occupants looking for life threatening injuries and provided basic first aid to those in need. Once all victims were triaged she returned to the pregnant mother who was having some anxiety and cramps and calmed her while continuing to assess for any change in her health status and the status of the baby.

Recognizing the inclement weather and the potential of hypothermia, RN Barton took all four victims and provided them shelter in her car until emergency personnel arrived on scene.

RN Barton stayed with the family and continued to provide nursing care until the family was transported by emergency personnel to the nearest hospital.