Each year as summer approaches our minds become consumed with the excitement of warm weather, fairs and festivals, outdoor adventures, vacations, and numerous other summer-specific activities. With a focus on the fun aspects of summer, it is easy to dismiss the risks and dangers associated with several of these activities. In particular, water related activities pose one of the highest risks of all—drowning. Drowning has become one of the leading causes of death in children, especially in those under the age of four.
Treating and performing life-saving interventions for patients who have drowned or experienced a near drowning event is not a rarity for USACS team members Billy Aguilar, FNP-C, APP Lead, and Josephine Livingston, MD, Trauma Medical Director, who serve the community of Kerrville at Peterson Health Medical Center. The pair witnessed such a tragedy when their colleague at Peterson lost their child due to drowning.
“We unfortunately see several drowning victims each year in our ED, but this incident significantly impacted us here at Peterson,” said Mr. Aguilar. “Though the loss was very difficult to process, it served as the catalyst for wanting to make a change.”
Together, Mr. Aguilar and Dr. Livingston created the Save-A-Life Jacket program in partnership with the Peterson Health Trauma team. The goal of the program is to raise funds to purchase 200 life jackets that will be donated to the Early Childhood Center in Kerrville, Texas. The center provides care for children of low-income families and previously was able to give life jackets to all their students. This year they were not able to secure the assistance necessary to provide the life jackets until the Save-A-Life Jacket program stepped in to help.
“The idea that supplying a life jacket could make all the difference in the outcome of these water-related accidents made the creation of the program a no-brainer,” said Mr. Aguilar. “The children of our community deserve to be protected and the life jackets will contribute to their safety this summer as they engage in activities involving water.”
Donations are currently being collected with the intention of supplying the life jackets to the Early Childhood Center on May 25th during the center’s annual Splash Day event. If you are interested in donating, please visit the Peterson Health website.
Serving patients is at the heart of our organization. For Mr. Aguilar and Dr. Livingston, the Save-A-Life Jacket program is their way of expanding their efforts beyond the walls of the hospital and into the local community.
“This is home,” said Mr. Aguilar. “The Kerrville community is caring, giving, and loving and I feel so fortunate to be here both personally and professionally. As clinicians, we believe it is our responsibility to keep patients and our communities safe, so this program means a lot to our team at Peterson.”
Though the program is still in its infancy, Mr. Aguilar has high hopes and expectations for the future.
“This is just the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing effort that will eventually expand to provide additional resources to both children and adults,” said Mr. Aguilar. “We hope this inaugural year of the program makes a profound impact on our community and inspires us all to ensure accessible safety measures are in place so summer can remain a season of fun for all.”