Wrong turns and the Tao of nursing
July 6, 2005 -- Today the Hawaii Channel, the web site for local ABC affiliate KITV, posted a short, unsigned story about a police ceremony honoring Liane Beckwith. Beckwith is a registered nurse and paramedic instructor who had cared for a Honolulu police officer after she saw him gravely wounded by a suspect fleeing in a stolen van. Although the short piece could have given more detail as to how Beckwith used her nursing skills, it seems pretty clear from the story that she saved his life.
The piece, "Injured Officer Thanks Hero Nurse," describes a recent ceremony at Honolulu Police Department (HPD) headquarters at which Beckwith was "overwhelmed" by awards and commendations, and at which she met the officer she saved. Months ago, Jeffrey Keahi Omai and other police officers had "cornered" a theft suspect in a parking lot at Honolulu Community College. However, the suspect reportedly struck Omai with the van, ran over him and pushed him 20-30 feet, then ran over him again.
Beckwith, who was driving nearby, had just taken a wrong turn. She was waiting at a light when she saw the van hit Omai. The piece quotes her as saying that Omai "was lying in a pool of blood and he wasn't breathing, so I stabilized his neck. He had blood clots in his mouth. I got those out of his mouth and got him breathing again." The piece notes that Omai spent the last eight months recovering from his severe injuries, which included a fractured skull. HDP Major Susan Ballard noted that Beckwith had saved Omai's life, and Omai said it was "really an honor" to meet her. Beckwith noted that she wanted to help Omai because "they put their lives on the line for us all the time."
We commend the Hawaii Channel for this brief but powerful recognition of one nurse's life-saving skills.