Demi Thomas, a registered nurse at P&S Surgery Center in Monroe, was on her way to work last Monday morning when she encountered two wrecked automobiles on U.S. Hwy. 165 and stopped to help.
Thomas said the morning was dark and rainy and she did not see the vehicle at first though she heard a vehicle alarm. That was when she turned to look and saw the two crashed vehicles on the side of the highway.
Thomas asked a man in one of the vehicles whether he was alright, to which he replied, “No.” She immediately parked her car and ran down the trench, where she found Monroe City Councilman Doug Harvey severely injured and losing blood at a rapid rate. She called an ambulance, borrowed a belt from a bystander and made a tourniquet to place around Harvey’s arm to stop the bleeding.
“I held that until EMS arrived and I assisted them with getting him out and onto the stretcher,” Thomas said. “Once I knew he was safe, I went on about my day and went in to work.”
Harvey thanked those who assisted him in the aftermath of the crash, including the Acadian Ambulance EMTs, Monroe Fire Department and the team at Ochsner LSU Health, but he especially wanted to thank Thomas.
“She most likely, at a minimum, saved my arm, and very possibly saved my life,” Harvey said.
Harvey’s shoulder had shattered in one place and broken in another, along with other injuries to his arm. After being taken to Ochsner LSU Health in Monroe, it was decided Harvey needed a more specialized surgeon to perform a complex shoulder procedure and was transferred to Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport.
Harvey went into a five-hour accident surgical procedure and spent the following five days in Shreveport before he was released from the hospital. Meanwhile, Thomas said she could not stop worrying about Harvey’s condition.
“I remembered his name and, shortly after, reached out to his wife to find out what had come of it all and to see if he was stable,” Thomas said. “That’s when he reached out to me to express his gratitude and asked if we could meet in person once he was home to have a conversation.”
Thomas said she was terrified but that she knew her help would be better than none at all.
“I just prayed for him and myself and did what I could to reassure him and help him,” Thomas said. “Once I got back in my car, I did call my husband crying. I was pretty shaken up but was happy I was there and got him the help.”
The cause of the crash remains unknown. Harvey said the details were a bit “fuzzy” and still being pieced together.
While Harvey is expected to make a full recovery, he said he had no idea how long the recovery would take. He said he and his family received a great amount of support not only from Thomas but from friends and family.
“I have been humbled by the number of people that have reached out and supported us during this time,” Harvey said. “We had hospital visitors from multiple states, all kinds of food at home and at the hospital and friends who made sure we had little things like toothbrushes and everything in between. It just reminds me of what a blessed life I lead.”