304th Rescue Squadron Airman provides lifesaving care to injured motorists

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Darius Sostre-Miroir, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
  • 920th Rescue Wing

Technical Sgt. Margo Testa, 304th Rescue Squadron medical element noncommissioned officer in charge, applied military training and medical expertise to render lifesaving care to two severely injured motorcyclists May 14.

Testa is the only NCOIC for the 304th RQS SME and the sole medical readiness and training manager for 118 traditional and active guard reservists, two flight doctors, an independent duty medical technician, and one aerospace medical technician in training. While traveling home with her friend and getting stuck in standstill traffic Testa noticed a scene of wreckage and injured civilians ahead.  

“When I looked ahead to see what was going on, I saw a damaged motorcycle laying of the side of the road and just a couple yards away were two people laying in a ditch,” Testa said.

Testa exited her vehicle and ran to the scene; taking charge of the situation. Using her medical training, she evaluated the severity of the motorcyclist’s injuries using the sort, assess, lifesaving interventions and treatment and transport (SALT) method to quickly assess situation.

“I quickly triaged both motorcyclists and was able to determine they were both in critical condition and saw that the male had sustained a visible, life-threatening injury to his leg,” Testa said.

The goal of a medical triage is to determine the priority of care quickly and efficiently for patients, ensuring that those with the most urgent needs receive immediate attention. This process helps in combat search and rescue missions where the proper allocation of resources such as personnel, equipment and medical supplies are critical.

Testa explained that the female motorcyclist, though less critically injured than the male, had roughly 30-45% of her body covered in road rash and likely sustained a traumatic brain injury which was discovered during an examination from arriving medical professionals.

The 304th RQS squadron’s medical element is comprised of a team of medical Airmen that deliver healthcare services to the squadron. Their primary objective is to maintain the medical readiness of personnel and provide medical support to the CSAR mission. They provide routine medical care, issue preventive medicine, conduct occupational health assessments, perform medical evaluations and are involved in deployments or training exercises.

Testa directed her friend to stabilize the head and neck of the less critically-injured motorcyclist to prevent further spinal injuries and help with their breathing. She then directed two bystanders to gather materials to make an improvised tourniquet, which is a device used to temporarily constrict or compress an artery or vein to control bleeding or circulation to an extremity.

“When the bystanders returned with the materials, I explained how to make the improvised tourniquet which allowed me to remain focused on treating the leg of the critically-injured motorcyclist by applying direct pressure to control his bleeding”, said Testa.

Emergency services were on the scene within 15 minutes. Testa said she then passed them care of the critically injured-motorcyclist and remained with the other motorcyclist until further medical services arrived.

The 304th RQS, located in Portland, Oregon, is part of the 943rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, a geographically separated unit within the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida.