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ED doctor rescues accident victim on way to work


September 21, 2021 | Everyday Moments

Roadside sign showing curves ahead

Dr. William Foster pulls injured driver from smoking wreckage.

As a physician who specializes in emergency medicine, it isn’t unusual for William Foster, MD, to care for someone who has been in an accident.

On July 2, what was unusual was where he provided care.

Dr. Foster, the medical director for PeaceHealth’s Emergency Department in Florence, Oregon, regularly commutes from his home in the Eugene area (about an hour’s drive) to provide medical support to the coastal community.

He was on his way to work that day when he saw a trailer in the road.

“I didn’t know until I got closer that it was a wreck,” he said.

Dr. Foster didn’t witness the collision, but the devastating multi-vehicle accident clearly happened moments before he pulled up.

As he parked, he heard a man screaming, “My leg! My leg! My leg!”

Dr. Foster jumped out of his car and, seeing the engine of the man’s vehicle starting to catch fire, told the driver, “We need to get you out!”

He reached in through the broken window to grab the injured man as another bystander arrived to help pull the victim out of the car and drag him a safe distance away from the smoking vehicle.

The victim was in too much pain to talk and by that time, emergency crews had arrived on the scene and stepped in to manage the situation.

As the man he rescued was transported to another PeaceHealth ED (in Springfield), Dr. Foster called to let his team in Florence know he’d be a few minutes late.