Deputy Meg Just was recently recognized by OSSA with a Lifesaving Award for her heroic actions to help a young gunshot victim.
On September 27, 2020, deputies were dispatched to a reported assault with a weapon in an unincorporated area of Washington County just before midnight. It was reported that a 17-year-old male had been shot multiple times. When Deputy Meg Just arrived, she observed two individuals supporting the victim by sitting him upright on the hood of a car – one holding a blood-soaked towel to the back of the victim. The victim moaning, gasping for breath and looked pale. Deputy Just, who had recently completed Tactical Casualty Care training, recognized the victim’s injuries were consistent with a “sucking chest wound”.
Deputy Just took charge of the situation and asked another deputy to get a chest seal. Deputy Just applied pressure to the front of the victim’s chest while keeping a towel under him to pressure the rear wound. Deputy Just and another deputy lowered the victim to the ground so pressure could be applied easier. As Deputy Just was applying pressure, she observed what appeared to be “gushing bright colored blood” emanating from a wound in the victim’s neck and shoulder area.
Recognizing this wound’s seriousness, Deputy Meg transitioned her pressure points, so her left hand continued the pressure on the front chest wound while her right hand attempted to stem the blood flow from the neck/shoulder wound. The towel was still supporting the pressure on the rear wound at this time. The victim continued to bleed from his neck wound despite Deputy Just’s direct pressure, so she inserted her finger into the wound while applying pressure to stop the continued bleeding. Deputy Just continued to monitor the ongoing accumulation of air in the victim’s chest and took steps to release her pressure periodically to allow the air buildup to escape.
Despite the biohazards present to Deputy Just at the time, she disregarded her own well-being to protect the victim’s life. Although she took preventative measures through the use of personal protective equipment (gloves), Deputy Just was still heavily exposed to the victim’s blood (covering her arms and soaking through her pants). At the same time, she treated him for his injuries. Nevertheless, she continued to care for the victim until he was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Once at the hospital, she continued her investigation by interviewing the victim to gather information about the possible suspect(s).
Deputy Just’s swift and decisive action provided a shooting victim time to make it to the hospital alive, where he was stabilized and ultimately survived his injuries. Deputy Just’s unselfish efforts exposed her to known hazards for her own safety but did not stop her from providing lifesaving care to a critically injured citizen of Washington County.