Jayme Erickson is used to dealing with tragic life-and-death situations as a paramedic. But the Canadian native never could have imagined that she’d be treating her own daughter on the job. She was called to the scene of a car crash on an icy stretch of road in Alberta on November 15. When she arrived, she found a teenager with severe injuries that looked fatal, Erikson remembered, so much so that she couldn’t even recognize her.
She labored for over 30 minutes to try and remove the injured driver from the vehicle and then stayed with her until she could be airlifted to the nearest hospital in Calgary.
When her shift had ended, Erickson drove home like normal only to find the police at her front door. They were inquiring about her 17-year-old daughter Montana, who had been the victim of a car crash. They told her that Montana’s injuries were “not compatible with life” and that she was taken off life support.
“The critically injured patient I had just attended to was my own flesh and blood. My only child. My mini me. My daughter, Montana,” she wrote to family and friends shortly after the incident. “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 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,” she added.
Erickson took a moment to remember her “firecracker” daughter during a press conference on Tuesday in the community of Airdrie. “She was a fighter and she fought until the day that she died, and she was beautiful,” the paramedic told a crowd of neighbors and reporters. “She was so beautiful.”
Richard Reed, a friend of the family and a fellow paramedic, broke down in tears multiple times while describing the scene of the crash. He said a car with two teenage girls was hit by an oncoming truck after losing control. The driver was able to escape the crash site, but Montana was trapped inside.
Erickson had been the first one to arrive on the scene, Reed explained. He admired his colleague’s resolve in times of great sadness.
“On entering the room, to her horror, she found the girl that she had sat with in the back of the crumpled vehicle keeping alive, so the family could say goodbye, and due to the extent of her injuries was unrecognizable, was Jayme’s own daughter,” Reed said. “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 that any of us could have conceived,” he added.
Erickson took some time to share the story of her daughter with the rest of the world. “She would love fiercely if you were her friend. She would love you to the end of the world and back and she would do anything for you. She was a fighter. And she fought,” she said.
Montana was a competitive swimmer who wanted to attend law school. She also managed to share one last gift before she died.
“She was able to donate her organs, and of her organs, two of them that were donated were lifesaving,” Erickson said. “We’re so happy that our baby girl is living on through others and she has in the wake of this tragedy saved other people. We know it’s what she would have wanted, and we are so proud of her and we’re going to miss her very, very much.”
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