October 21, 2020

Mississippi soldier uses ink pen to help save accident victim’s life

From Fort Bliss Garrison Public Affairs

FORT BLISS, Texas — A Mississippi soldier credits his training from his unit’s medics for helping him save a man’s life after an accident just before Christmas on Interstate 20 near Sweetwater, Texas.

Troney, 20, was on his way home on to Raleigh, Mississippi — about 1,085 miles east of Fort Bliss — for Christmas when he saw the accident at about 2 p.m. on Dec. 22 and pulled over.

Seeing the driver slumped over the steering wheel of his truck, Troney received help from two other men who stopped to help him pry open the door. Jeff Udger, of Longview, Texas, had a gash on his head, and Troney took off his brand new New Orleans Saints hoodie and wrapped it around Udger’s head to help stop the bleeding.

At this point, Udger was still conscious enough to make a joke about it, Troney said to the Fort Bliss Public Affairs.

“Well, this is Cowboy country, so I don’t know how I feel about you wrapping me up in a Saints hoodie,” Udger told Troney.

Soon after, however, Troney noticed that the left side of Udger’s chest wasn’t moving, and he realized Udger had a collapsed lung. Troney ran back to his Jeep, hoping he still had some first aid supplies left from the brigade’s recent rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. Sure enough, he had a Needle Chest Compression, or NCD, and an Individual First Aid Kit, or IFAK, so he grabbed them and ran back to Udger.

While his training made the use of the NCD second nature for Troney, he had to think fast after the NCD needle was too small to reach into Udger’s collapsed lung and relieve pressure.

Finding a ballpoint pen, he had an idea. He tore off the ends of the pen and took out the ink so it was just a hollow tube.

“I took the NCD and put it right in the hole and kind of wiggled (the pen) in with my hand in between the ribs and you just started to see the bubbles come out of the tip, and I was like, ‘OK, we’re good,'” said Troney.

The state trooper who had just arrived asked, “Did you just put an ink pen between his ribs?”

“I was like, ‘I did,'” Troney said. “And [the state trooper] was like, ‘he’s on no pain meds,’ and I said, ‘oh, he felt it, but he’s unconscious. He lost consciousness as I was running back to my Jeep because he had lost a lot of blood.'”

When the ambulance arrived about 10 minutes later, the paramedics credited Troney with saving Udger’s life, and the state trooper bought him food at the truck stop up the road. Still, Troney said he was afraid Udger might try to seek legal action if he had made any mistakes. To the contrary, Udger, as soon as he recovered enough to respond, has been contacting government officials, the media and Troney’s chain of command — all the way up to his brigade commander, Col. Michael Trotter — and telling them how thankful he is for Troney’s actions.

“In an urgent situation (Troney) showed amazing patience and continuous care,” said Udger in an email. “He kept talking to me and acted as if the situation was no pressure at all.”

In a phone interview, Udger said he is glad Troney left behind his email address so he could contact him, and he has offered to replace Troney’s hoodie. Troney said the loss of the hoodie means nothing to him and there is no need for Udger to replace it.

Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, said Udger.