From the 12-year-old whose blood ran like a river out of a state police MedEvac helicopter to the 17-year-old paralyzed for life, Ron Brown can recall countless automobile tragedies from his job as a technician at Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Brown, 22, has been working part time for six years helping doctors and nurses in treating trauma patients. Now he has found another way to save lives -- with a video he created based on what he has seen, aimed at discouraging drunken driving by young people.
The four-minute, 16-second video is titled "Reality," and uses the song "Don't Close Your Eyes" by the Baltimore band Kix to dramatize what happens to a young man and his date after he drinks and drives.
"My mother now works at the hospital as a rehabilitation coordinator, but a few years ago she was a nurse working with trauma prevention, bringing kids through to show them what happens at the center," Brown said. "There was a portion of the program where they showed them videos and she asked me if I could put together a video."
Brown -- who graduates tomorrow from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and hopes to become a paramedic -- said it took him two years to write, direct and produce the video.
It has no dialogue to convey the message, depending instead on music and stark images of a crash, the victim being flown to Shock Trauma, and a funeral.
The video was a collective effort involving Brown and Shock Trauma -- whose board donated $3,300 for production costs -- as well as the state police, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services, Singerly Fire Company in Cecil County, Witzke Funeral Home and St. John's Cemetery in Ellicott City.
Of the 600 copies he has made since releasing the tape last year, 550 have been distributed to state school systems and as far away as Missouri, Brown said.
"We've been distributing them all over," said Michelle Gibler, coordinator of Missouri HEADS UP, an injury prevention program. "I've shared it with my colleagues and once they pop [the video] in and take a look at it, they are amazed because it's so powerful."
Gibler said young people in Missouri's traffic offenders program spend the day at a trauma center and are shown the "music video" at the end of the day. Their reactions to the tape range from somber silence to tears, she said.
"You could cut the emotion with a knife," Gibler said. "No one moves, no one looks around."
Michael M. Gimbel, director of the Baltimore County Office of Substance Abuse, said videos such as Brown's communicate to youths on their level about the seriousness of drunken driving.
"We're competing with advertisers and we have to be as creative with our anti-message as they are with their pro-message," Gimbel said. "I think half the battle with kids is getting them to pay attention."
Brown, who charges only for the cost of mailing the tape, said the video is extremely popular during prom season, when the message against drinking and driving is emphasized to students.
Janet Schulte, health education specialist for Anne Arundel schools, said copies of the video have been distributed to the area's 12 high schools through the system's Safe and Drug Free Schools Unit, and have been used by teachers and counselors.
"It gets response in terms of having an emotional impact," said Schulte, a part-time instructor at Towson State University who includes the video in her classes on drug abuse there. "It really makes the students think."
Pub Date: 5/21/96