FAIRFIELD — The injuries the three students sustained Thursday weren’t real but the response was, said Dr. Jeffrey Dembner, neurosurgeon at NorthBay Medical Center.
“This isn’t acting. This is what we do every day,” he said. “It’s exactly what I’d do in a real situation.”
Dembner was among the medical staff talking with the trio of Rio Vista High School students brought in as part of the Every 15 Minutes program aimed at showing the consequences of alcohol-impaired driving.
Students at the school saw the victims that followed the “accident” involving a pickup truck and four-door sedan.
Mercedes Zepeda, 18, had seen a previous Every 15 Minutes program but was a participant for the first time Thursday as an accident victim.
“It’s actually a lot more emotional,” she said, recalling seeing a friend among other victims. “He looked really dead.”
Heather Venezio, a registered nurse and the director of NorthBay Healthcare’s Trauma Unit, said the medical center’s participation reflects its role. Part of being a trauma center is injury prevention, she said.
The treatment students required was recorded and will be part of the video shown Friday at the high school.
“It’s pretty powerful,” Venezio said of the program.
As “injured” students arrived Thursday, Dr. John Zopfi, trauma medical director, spoke with them and announced what he found. Equal bilateral breath sounds, he said, after asking one of the injured to take a couple of deep breaths.
A fourth student “dies” from injuries in the accident.
Every 15 Minutes comes in two parts, said Jamie Moe, 17, one of the students brought to NorthBay. Part two takes place Friday when the video record, including treatment at the medical center, is shown to students.
Trauma unit director Venezio, who grew up outside Boston, said her high school didn’t have anything like the program presented to Rio Vista students. But she absolutely wishes they had, Venezio said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.