You Only Live Once

By Richelle Rumford
As an Emergency Department nurse I have always felt that I am prepared for anything and everything that could come through the doors. In fact, the uncertainty of every day is what I love most about emergency medicine. Education, training and experience have all prepared me to take care of critically ill and injured patients with no hesitation.  However, over the years I have always struggled with what I feel is the most difficult part of my job. I have never been able to prepare myself for witnessing the grief families experience when someone they love is killed in an accident.
Words never seem to come out right - we try to comfort families any way that we can, but nothing seems to ease their pain. The faces of those family members will stay with me throughout my lifetime; I can remember most of them by name. Parents who lose their children, children who lose their parents and spouses that have spent 25 years or more by each other’s side suddenly become separated by death. Traumatic death is often quick, with few details and little explanation; the haunting question of “why” is never answered.
I am so proud to be a part of the Stormont-Vail Trauma Team and I am amazed each day at the life-saving care we provide to our patients.  However, even the very best emergency medical providers, doctors and nurses in the world can sometimes not undo the damage caused by motor vehicle, motorcycle or other accidents. That is why prevention is so important. Wear your seat belt, follow traffic laws, avoid distractions while driving and never operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Teach your children to be safe drivers and remember that they learn from watching you.

Take those extra steps

Being safe is so easy to forget or to take for granted. In such a fast paced world it is tempting to use those extra minutes in the car to make phone calls, send a message or to go just “a little” over the speed limit. Each decision we make can have unforeseen consequences that will not only impact you but also those who love and care for you. 
Each time you get behind the wheel please take a moment to think about all the lives your actions will impact and make the decision to practice safety. I chose to be safe for my family, friends, others on the road and for myself.
Stormont-Vail Trauma Services is hosting YOLO: Teen Injury Prevention Expo on October 10th from 5-7 p.m. at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka.
This event is free and open to teens and parents who want to learn about injury prevention. Come out and enjoy music, food and games and most importantly learn ways to practice safety every day because You Only Live Once!
Richelle Rumford, RN MSN, is a Trauma Program Manager and Prevention Coordinator at Stormont-Vail HealthCare 


  1. Betty Oliva10/03/2012

    Thank you for sharing Richelle. Every time we travel in a car, on a bike or walk to and from school, safety is our first priority.

  2. Tim McCool10/03/2012

    Thanks for sharing Richelle. Having been in law enforcement for 28 years I know the feelings of never being able to say the "right" thing to console a family in their loss. It makes me proud to see a young lady, that I taught DARE to in grade school, grow up to be such a caring and compassionate adult. "Trooper Tim"

  3. I think it's awesome that the YOLO teen event is scheduled on Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day. Since "YOLO" is usually used by someone justifying why they are doing something dangerous or stupid, I appreciate that this event will focus on how to SAFELY enjoy this one life we are given!

  4. Excellent information. I just e-mailed dozens of people and posted the YOLO Teen Event on my Facebook page. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Anonymous10/03/2012

    A great article by a great nurse! I'm so proud to be a member of the Stormont-Vail Trauma Team. I hope parents hear about our YOLO event and care as much about educating their children and preventing traumatic injuries as Richelle does. Great article!