A paramedic cared for a teenage car crash victim who was so badly injured she was unrecognizable, then later learned the victim was her own daughter, who died from her injuries.
EMT worker Jayme Erickson of Alberta, Canada shared her "profound, unimaginable sadness" over the death of her 18-year-old daughter Montana in a November 18 Facebook post.
"We are overwhelmed with grief and absolutely gutted," she wrote. "The pain I am feeling is like no pain I have ever felt, it is indescribable."
Erickson said the Nov. 15 accident that occurred near Airdrie, north of Calgary, was "my worst nightmare as a paramedic."
"Upon arrival we found two patients with injuries, the passenger being trapped and critically injured," she wrote. "I sat in the car and tended to the critically injured patient, doing whatever I could while (firefighters) extricated her."
Erickson ended her shift after the teen was airlifted to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
"Minutes after arriving home, my doorbell rang," she wrote. "My life was changed forever. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) were at my door, to inform me that my daughter had been in an accident. The critically injured patient I had just attended to, was my own flesh and blood. My only child. My mini-me. My daughter, Montana. Her injuries were so horrific I did not even recognize her. I was taken to FMC to see my baby girl, and was informed her injuries were not compatible with life."
Paramedic Richard Reed, a family spokesperson, said in a press conference that Montana and a friend were driving home after walking dogs at Big Hill Springs park when their car was struck by an oncoming truck.
"Despite being a cold evening, Jayme stayed in the vehicle for over 20 minutes, ensuring the patient's C-spine was stable and that her airway was clear," said Reed. "On her way back, she expressed the grief (and) frustration to her partner, knowing that tonight, a family would likely lose their daughter, sister and grandchild."
Reed added, "Jayme unknowingly was keeping her own daughter alive. As both a parent and a first responder, I can tell you, this is beyond a nightmare."
Corporal Gina Slaney, Southern Alberta District media relations officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, tells TODAY.com that Montana was a passenger during the "head-on collision" and she was airlifted to the hospital by STARS Air Ambulance. Montana's friend survived the accident. The driver of the truck sustained minor injuries.
A spokesperson from STARS tells TODAY.com that Montana arrived at the hospital in critical condition.
Chad Durocher, platoon chief at the Airdrie Fire Department, and his paramedic wife, Deana Davison, are friends of Erickson and Montana’s stepfather, Sean.
"Montana babysat for us on occasion and our kids spent time together," Durocher tells TODAY.com. "Montana was super sweet and a beautiful young soul."
Davison adds that Montana, who had two stepbrothers, was a competitive swimmer who wanted to be a lawyer one day. "She was supposed to graduate this year."
On Facebook, Erickson recounted her immeasurable loss.
"Although I am thankful for the 17 years I had with her, I am shattered and left wondering, 'What would you have become, my baby girl? Who would you have been?' I will never see you graduate and walk across the stage, I will never see you get married, I will never know who you would have been."
She added, "I will cherish the memories we made and the time we had together. I am shattered. I am broken. I am missing a piece of me. I am left to pick up the pieces and expected to carry on."
TODAY.com reached out to Erickson, who did not reply.
In the press conference, Erickson said her colleagues who are parents "know that this is our worst fear," adding, "They understand, even though it's not their daughter, it is their daughter."
Montana was an organ donor, what her mom called "one last gift."
"We're so happy to know that our baby girl is living on through others," said Erickson, "and in the wake of this tragedy, she has saved other people."
The CBC reports that the cause of the crash is still under investigation, according to police.