Canadian paramedic who tried to save crash victim learns it was her daughter

The Guardian
The Guardian
 11 days ago
Jayme Erickson, left, is comforted by her husband, Sean Erickson, centre, and friends as she speaks to the media in Airdrie, Alberta Photograph: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

A Canadian paramedic who responded to a road crash last week and worked to help a teenage casualty was unknowingly treating her own daughter.

When Jayme Erickson arrived at the scene of the crash on an icy stretch of Alberta highway on 15 November, she found a teenage girl with severe injuries that Erickson knew were probably fatal. Owing to the severity of the girl’s injuries, Erickson could not recognise her.

Erickson worked for nearly half an hour to remove the girl from the vehicle and stayed with her until the teenager could be airlifted to a nearby hospital in Calgary.

When Erickson got home at the end of her shift, she was met by police officers who said her 17-year-old daughter, Montana, had been the victim of the crash. She was advised that the injuries were “not compatible with life” and Montana was taken off life support.

“The critically injured patient I had just attended to was my own flesh and blood. My only child. My mini me. My daughter, Montana,” she wrote to family and friends . “Although I am thankful for the 17 years I had with her, I am shattered and left wondering. What would you have become, my baby girl? Who would you have been?

“I am shattered. I am broken. I am missing a piece of me. I am left to pick up the pieces and expected to carry on.”

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in the community of Airdrie, Erickson, flanked by family and colleagues, eulogised her “firecracker” daughter. “She was a fighter and she fought until the day that she died and she was beautiful,” she said. “She was so beautiful.

Richard Reed, a friend and fellow paramedic, broke down multiple times as he told reporters about the scene of a crash, where a car with two teenage girls returning from dog walking had lost control and was struck by an oncoming truck.

The driver was able to leave the vehicle, but the passenger, Montana, was trapped. Erickson was the first on the scene and later expressed sadness and frustration to her husband that a family were likely to lose their daughter.

“As both a parent and a first responder, I can tell you this is beyond a nightmare that any of us could have conceived,” Reed said.

Erickson said she wanted the world to know about the daughter she had lost. “She would love fiercely if you were her friend. She would love you to the end of the world and back and she would do anything for you. She was a fighter. And she fought,” she said.

A competitive swimmer with ambitions to attend law school, Montana had been able to give “one last gift” to those in need. “She was able to donate her organs, and of her organs, two of them that were donated were lifesaving,” Erickson said. “We’re so happy that our baby girl is living on through others and she has in the wake of this tragedy saved other people. We know it’s what she would have wanted and we are so proud of her and we’re going to miss her very, very much.”

Comments / 115

11d ago

Must have been pretty bad if the mother didn’t recognize her own daughter.. so sad, I can’t imagine what that poor mother is going through. At least she could be there for her daughter during, hopefully that brings her some kind of peace and comfort.

11d ago

If your daughter had a chance to call out for anyone, it probably would have been you, her paramedic mother. If she was alert for only a few seconds and heard your voice, I'm sure she felt at least a little relief that you were at her side.

Jarrett Wilson
11d ago

When I was 16 I went head first in a head-on collision through the windshield and got airlifted by helicopter to a trauma center .. my mom drove home later from work not realizing all the sand ( covering the blood ) in the road was for me. So sorry this particular lady had to go through that.


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