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NEWS | Feb. 7, 2020

METC instructor lauded for his efforts in saving the life of a gunshot victim

By David DeKunder 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A medical instructor at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston is being lauded for his efforts in helping to save the life of a gunshot victim last summer.

Clyde Foster, Medical Education and Training Campus Department of Combat Medic Training training instructor, has been nominated for a METC award by his supervisors based on the actions he took on the afternoon of July 29, 2019, when he came to an aid of a man who had been shot at an H-E-B in northeast San Antonio.

Foster described what it was like at the scene when he came upon the gunshot victim.

“I was shopping at H-E-B and made my purchase and was getting ready to walk out of the store and I hear, ‘Oh my God, he’s been shot!’” Foster said.

He then found a young man, who was bleeding, lying down just inside the door of the store. A bystander had come to the aid of the man and was trying to stop the bleeding using a newspaper. Apparently, the victim had been shot in the store’s parking lot as a result of an altercation between him and three other men. After being shot, the victim managed to get inside the store.

“The victim was talking to me,” Foster said. “He had several wounds to his back, one to his right pelvis. It was the pelvic wound that was doing the majority of the bleeding, very few of the wounds from the back were bleeding.”

As the bystander was controlling the bleeding, Foster went to his vehicle in the parking lot to get his first aid bag. Once he returned, Foster gave the man who was controlling the bleeding gauze and then made a couple of improvised chest seals out of plastic and tape to tend the wounds on the person’s back.

While Foster was treating the patient, EMS arrived and took the shooting victim to the hospital. The man survived.

Foster, a retired Army nurse, said during the ordeal his focus was treating the victim, regardless of what was going on at the scene.

“One of the things we teach our students (at METC) is always about safety,” he said. “If the scene is not safe, stay out of it. Well, I ran out of the store not knowing what was going on outside, not the smartest thing to do.

“When people are injured, we focus on the ability of let me fix what’s going on, not what’s going on in the environment,” Foster added. “That’s what I’m trained to do.”

Foster’s expertise is in critical care and emergency medicine. He has 30 years of experience as a registered nurse and emergency medical technician, treating patients with gunshot wounds in both tactical and civilian settings. He has been an instructor in the Department of Combat Medic Training for 18 years.

He said the incident at the H-E-B was the first time he has treated a gunshot victim while not on duty or on call as an EMT.

The day after the incident occurred he told his METC co-workers about it. He also told his wife, who was out of town at that time, about it once she got back home.

Foster said he had put the incident behind him until December, when he learned that his supervisors at METC, Hector Castillo, Department of Combat Medic Training training supervisor, civilian in charge of EMT 3, and Capt. Rachel Sabatura, Department of Combat Medic Training, officer in charge of EMT 3, had nominated him for the award.

Castillo said Foster has been nominated for the award because he went above and beyond the call of duty in helping to save a life.

“He went and did something on his own will to save a life,” Castillo said. “He took it upon himself to take that risk on the possible still continuous fire. He didn’t know if it was safe or not. He went back outside to get equipment and perform certain emergency procedures to save a life, to stop the bleeding.”

Castillo said Foster is one of the top instructors in the Department of Combat Medic Training who is always willing to give a helping hand to students, instructors and employees within the department.

Foster said he did what any medic would do in the situation he was faced with.

“Literally, I hadn’t given it any thought,” he said. “I don’t think I did anything that any medic would not have done under those circumstances.”