Sgt Trey Troney was on his way home to Mississippi for Christmas on December 22. He witnessed a serious car accident on I20 near Sweetwater, Texas, and ran to the aid of the driver. Jeff Udger was slumped over the steering wheel and losing a lot of blood. Sgt Toney evaluated the patient, and his training took over.
He asked two other men to help him pry the driver’s door open. Then he used is special edition “Salute to Service” New Orleans Saints hoodie to attempt to stop the bleeding.
As he wrapped Mr. Udger’s head, the man was still conscious enough to make a joke about being in Cowboy country.”Well, this is Cowboy country, so I don’t know how I feel about you wrapping me up in a Saints hoodie.”
Suddenly Troney noticed that one side of Udger’s chest wasn’t moving, and he realized the man had a collapsed lung. He ran back to his car and retrieved a first aid kit (he had a Needle Chest Compression, or NCD, and an Individual First Aid Kit, or IFAK) from a recent deployment.
But the needle in his kit was not large enough to reach Mr. Udger’s lung. So he quickly took apart a ballpoint pen, and removed the ink cartridge, leaving the hollow tube.
The Army reported,
“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.”
Sgt Trey Troney has been in the Army for 3 years. He is assigned to Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. His training kicked in at the needed time.
“We train over and over; it’s like muscle memory. Not to sound biased, but at 2-3 … they’re some of the best combat medics that I’ve ever met.” Sgt Troney
In this case, the Sgt joined the ranks of those “best combat medics.” Mr. Udger is expected to fully recover. Troney told him the hoodie did not need to be replaced.
“I will speak for all when I say we are very proud of one of our own, one of our best and brightest, being ready and able to answer when called upon to help someone in need.” Capt. Angel Alegre, Commander
Featured photo: Staff Sgt. Killo Gibson