A 20-year-old Army hero is being credited with saving the life of a Texas man after he crafted a makeshift medical device out of a ballpoint pen to perform a lifesaving maneuver. Sgt. Trey Troney was headed home to Mississippi on Dec. 22 when he witnessed a car accident that left Jeff Udger bleeding from the head and slumped over the wheel of his truck.
Troney enlisted the help of two other men to pry open Udger’s door and used his special edition “Salute to Service” New Orleans Saints hoodie to help stop the bleeding, according to a post from Army public affairs. He then noticed Udger’s chest had stopped moving, and recognized that he was suffering from a collapsed lung.
Troney found a first-aid kit and a needle chest decompression kit in his car, which had been leftover from a recent rotation at a National Training Center in California, according to the public affair’s post. However, the needle in the kit wasn’t large enough to reach through Udger’s chest, so Troney found a ballpoint pen and emptied its contents to create a hollow tube.
Troney, who has been in the Army for three years, said he knew the procedure worked when he saw the bubbles come out of the tip of the pen.
“We train over and over; it’s like muscle memory,” Troney said in the post. “Not to sound biased, but at 2-3… they’re some of the best combat medics that I’ve ever met.”
Responding officers noted that Udger hadn’t had any pain medicine before the procedure, but Troney said he recognized the severity of the situation after Udger lost consciousness due to massive blood loss.
“In an urgent situation (Troney) showed amazing patience and continuous care,” Udger, who is expected to make a full recovery and offered to replace Troney’s sweatshirt, told Army public affairs, in am email. “He kept talking to me and acted as if the situation was no pressure at all.”