FORT CARSON, Colo. — The last place someone may want to experience a medical emergency is on a public shuttle bus.
But, for one Soldier, it may have been the best place that it could have happened.
Roy Hanschu, shuttle bus driver and a contractor attached to Army Field Support Battalion-Carson, got a call from the Shuttle Bus Program base about a passenger who needed a ride from Evans Army Community Hospital April 5.
“When I got there to pick him up, he was standing outside,” Hanschu said. “Usually, people will be sitting outside. He seemed fine; nothing appeared to be wrong with him. I let him in the shuttle and asked where he needed to go, and he told me where his barracks were.”
Just a few minutes into the drive, things took a turn for the worse.
“The way I drive is that if the person’s head is moving around a lot, then I’m turning too fast. I looked in the rearview mirror and he was looking around, so I thought good, he’s OK,” Hanschu said. “I get to the turn by the commissary, and I happened to look in the mirror again. He was still sitting there fine, so I knew I wasn’t driving too fast. I go through the light at Prussman and Chiles, and I feel something on my back and hear some rustling around in the back. As I go through the light at Prussman and Wetzel, I turn and look at him and say, ‘Hey, are you OK?’ I thought he dropped something and was trying to find it. He was bent over, but it wasn’t to look for something.”
It was actually much more serious than that.
“I called the base and said I needed help at the Hub, where I stopped to check on him,” he said. “I thought the guy hit his head on the door, because he was sitting on that side. I went around and opened the door slowly so I wouldn’t hit his head. I pulled him up by his shirt and sat him back up in the seat. A guy came up to ask for a ride, and I told him I couldn’t then because I was helping this person. But I asked him to get my radio and hand it to me, and he did. I radioed base and said that this other passenger needed a ride, and I said that I needed medical services for the Soldier who was in the shuttle.”
Later, Hanschu’s supervisor, Ray Gonzalez a Transportation Motor Pool supervisor and contract attached to AFSBN-Carson, arrived at the Hub where Hanschu had stopped to take care of the patient. Hanschu had 14 years of active-duty service in the medical field as a lab tech before taking the shuttle driver position.
“In the medical field, with the hospital, clinic or even field hospital I was in, it didn’t matter if you were an X-ray tech or administrative – anything,” Hanschu said. “You still had to deal with, if this happens to somebody, what you should do. When I realized something was wrong with him, I switched immediately into that mode. I didn’t even think about it. It’s been almost a year or so since I did my medical job. You retain those skills, especially if you pay attention during the training.”
Hanschu stabilized the Soldier’s head to prevent further injury. Although he was initially unresponsive, he started to regain consciousness.
“The guy started to come to, and he was trying to get me to hug him,” he said. “He said, ‘I don’t want to die.’ I said, ‘You’re not going to die, you’ll be fine.’ The medical crew checked him and said he was good and that I could let him go. When I first set him up, he had blood coming out of his nose, but what really got me was I saw blood coming out of his ear. They got him out of my van and put him in the ambulance.”
Gonzalez arrived at the scene to see Hanschu treating and calming the patient.
“Roy radioed in and said his passenger was experiencing a medical emergency,” Gonzalez said. “I went out to where he had stopped to render first aid to the passenger, and the Soldier was bleeding from his ears and nose. Roy had stabilized his head because he was afraid he had hit his head on something. The Soldier was very upset. He said he didn’t want to die. Roy assured him that he wasn’t going to die and continued to stabilize his head. I called 911 and we were speaking with the dispatcher about the situation until emergency personnel arrived to take over care of the patient.”
Gonzalez said it was lucky for the Soldier that Hanschu picked him up.
“How he handled this situation made a big difference,” Gonzalez said. “He showed bravery and courage. Him being in that vehicle was so important. This situation could have been a lot worse.”
According to Evans Army Community Hospital emergency room staff, the Soldier was treated in the ER and made a full recovery.
Lt. Col. Sarah Gilbert, commander, AFSBN-Carson, said the efforts of Hanschu and Gonzalez showed their dedication to their jobs.
“I was very proud of the post shuttle team’s quick response to the Soldier’s medical situation,” she said. “We are very glad he made a full recovery. Mr. Hanschu and Mr. Gonzalez are prime examples of the dedication our contractors have to the warfighters on Fort Carson.”