Who You Gonna Call?

When Andy Plata, a third-year marketing major, injured her ankle while doing a workout on the eighth-floor patio of Nease, she had no idea what to do.

“I didn’t know who to call; I couldn’t think that fast,” said Plata in an email interview.

During the past month, there have been a few emergency incidents on campus such as the workout equipment incident in the weight room and in dorm spaces — like Plata’s situation — that have led both bystanders and those who are injured to ask, “Who do I call to get help?”

Plata couldn’t receive on-campus care because the Wellness Center is closed on the weekends. 

“Our clinic is closed on Saturday and Sunday as we do not function as an urgent care, however we do have an on-call provider each weekend who is able to answer any questions a student may have or assist in an emergency situation,” said the Wellness Center via email. 

Sam del Rey, a second-year literature major, came to Plata’s aid when she injured herself. Del Rey said Point Loma Nazarene University should be doing more to educate and support students in emergency situations.

“I do not think that the school has enough student resources for an emergency,” said del Rey in an email interview. “Although I can only speak for myself, I felt as though all four of us [del Rey and three other students who came to assist Plata] were unsure of what to do exactly, besides icing and elevating Andy’s leg and trying to get her to an ER.”

Current protocols in emergency situations, according to Trypuc, are to call 911 if there are life-threatening injuries. In situations involving non-life-threatening injuries, PLNU resources like Public Safety and the Wellness Center should be contacted via cellphone or from the blue light phones on campus. 

“We’re [public safety dispatchers] on duty on this campus 24/7, 365 days a year,” said Trypuc. “Ideally, we would connect someone with the Wellness Center when it’s open during business hours. Apart from that, it will be up to the student to determine where the best place is for them to pursue and get some additional help.”

A public safety officer was dispatched when Plata first got injured; however, Plata said there was not much the officer could do since her injury needed to be looked at by a doctor. 

As an international student, determining the best plan of action proved to be a difficult endeavor. 

“I have never been to a hospital or urgent care in the states, so I didn’t know what to do,” said Plata. 

A second setback in getting her injuries looked at was finding a place that would take her insurance. 

“I went to the ER that was closer to Loma but they didn’t receive my insurance, so we had to go to another one that was close to Coronado,” said Plata. “Once I went to that ER, it took more time to sign the forms and wait for the doctor, especially because I didn’t have an appointment. I think everything started around 11:40 a.m. and I came back to my dorm by 5 p.m.”

Plata and Del Rey mentioned a couple of changes PLNU can make to prepare students for emergency situations: improving education on what to do and providing first aid kits. 

“I don’t think there is enough information for emergency situations,” said Plata. “What if something worse could have happened?”

Del Rey said there should be first aid kits on each floor or within each dorm building along with the emergency number of who to call on campus and also the number and address of the nearest emergency room. Additionally, having a wheelchair per dorm would have been beneficial with Plata’s injury in transporting her to a vehicle, according to del Rey. 

Trypuc noted that Public Safety dispatchers are trained in three forms of emergency assistance: first aid, CPR, and AED. And, despite first aid kits not being distributed in every building, Trypuc said AEDs have been strategically placed because they are considered life-saving equipment. 

“To my knowledge, there are no official community first aid kits. Typically speaking, if someone has a minor cut, or a laceration, or some bruising, or a bump or a sprain, that’s not a life-saving emergency so there’s not as much of an emphasis to have first aid equipment or supplies available,” said Trypuc.

But, Trypuc offers this advice: “I encourage everyone to get some basic first aid, CPR, and AED training. You never know when it might come in handy. You might be able to save someone’s life. As far as being a bystander in a situation, at the very least if you don’t have any medical training, call and get help. Sometimes people might feel reluctant and freeze, so don’t hesitate in calling and getting help.”PLNU does not offer any classes for first aid, CPR, and AED training; however, you can visit https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class or https://www.heartcpr.com/cpr-classes-san-diego/ to enroll in courses.

Public Safety recommended steps to follow in an emergency situation:

  1. If someone is experiencing life-threatening injuries, call 911.
  2. For other injuries, call Public Safety (619) 849-2546.
  3. Wait with the person until an officer or medical expert arrives.
  4. Help them look up emergency rooms or urgent care locations nearby.

By: Lainie Alfaro