We recently received some impressive feedback about one of the TIGRE medics who successfully completed the course – a first-person account of how this basic lifesaving training is being put to use on the streets of Honduras.
Commando TIGRE Reyes is one of only 30 trained and certified first responder Medics in Honduras. I had the opportunity to meet her during the final graduation and was impressed by her fearless nature. Continue to read a vignette transcribed by the senior US advisor to the TIGRES and learn how Reyes used her new skills to save a life.
In Reyes’ words:
At midnight on September 29th, I formed up with seventy TIGRES on the Cobras Base soccer field.
Comisario Barahona said, “We are going to Colonia Ciudad España to arrest seven members of the Pandilla 18.” Colonia Ciudad España is a dangerous place.
Comisario Barahona divided us into seven teams, one for each target. Each team had eight people. Since I just graduated from the 9-week Medic Course, I would be the team medic. I checked my [Spirit of America-provided] medical bag to make sure everything was there.
At 3:00 AM, the 15-man cordon force left the Cobras Base first. The cordon force would move in early to surround Colonia Ciudad España. They would catch gang members trying to escape once we started to make the arrests.
At 4:00 AM, the rest of us loaded the pickup trucks and drove 30 minutes to Colonia Ciudad España. We got out of the trucks and walked up the steep hill towards our seven targets.
My team leader, Inspector Garay, moved us slowly and quietly to the front door of the house, like we were taught in training at Lepaterique. Inspector Garay tapped on the door. There was no answer. We entered the house. We cleared the two rooms. The house was empty. As we searched for evidence, I heard gunfire.
Then a loud cry, “Medic, medic!”
Inspector Garay yelled, “Reyes! Go!”
I grabbed my medic bag and ran across the field and pushed past my companions to get to the casualty. It was a gang member, laying on the ground in pain. The gang member had run into the TIGRE cordon force. The gang member fired at the TIGRE. The TIGRE fired back.
His right pant leg was completely soaked with blood. I took out my scissors and cut through his pants so I could find the wound. He had been shot in the femur and was bleeding bad.
I took out combat gauze and applied it to the wound. I wrapped a pressure dressing around as tight as I could, like the Colombian Junglas and the Special Forces instructors taught me. That seemed to work. The bleeding stopped. I then did a complete check of his body to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
He had lost so much blood, I decided I needed to start an IV.
As I searched for the vein, I talked to the gang member to calm him down. His name was “Danielito.” He was 22 years old, just like me. I said, “Danielito. Do you know who is taking care of you right now?” Danielito answered, “The Police.” I said, “No, Danielito, not just the Police. The TIGRES. The TIGRES take care of each other when we are hurt. The TIGRES take care of civilians when they are hurt and the TIGRES will take care of gang members, Danielito, when they are hurt. Remember that.”
Four TIGRES carried Danielito down the hill on a stretcher to the ambulance waiting below. I walked alongside Danielito, holding the IV bag, checking his vital signs and watching the pressure dressing.
When we got to the ambulance, the Doctor from the Hospital Military looked at my pressure dressing. He asked, “Who did that?” I said, “I did.” He smiled and said, “That is the best pressure dressing I have ever seen.”
He turned to the ambulance crew and said, “Don’t touch that dressing. Leave it just like it is.” They drove away to the hospital.
Thanks to the expertise of the US advisors, the dedication and courage of the TIGRES and your donation of first aid kits, the first responder training program was a success. We appreciate your support and generosity to these programs. You are saving lives.
Latin America Project Manager