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Survivors’ experiences from a train crash

Author(s): Rebecca Forsberg | Britt-Inger Saveman

Journal: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health & Well-Being
ISSN 1748-2623

Volume: 6;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Content analysis | experiences | interviews | nursing | train accident

Rarely described are people's lived experiences from severe injury events such as train crashes. The number of train crashes named disasters with ≥10 killed and/or ≥100 nonfatally injured grows globally and the trend shows that more people survive these disasters today than did so in the past. This results in an increased number of survivors needing care. The aim of the study was to explore survivors’ experiences from a train crash. Narrative interviews were performed with 14 passengers 4 years after a train crash event. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the interviews. Experiences were captured in three main themes: (1) Living in the mode of existential threat describes how the survivors first lost control, then were thrown into a state of unimaginable chaos as they faced death. (2) Dealing with the unthinkable described how survivors restored control, the central role of others, and the importance of reconstructing the event to move forward in their processing. (3) Having cheated death shows how some became shackled by their history, whereas others overcame the haunting of unforgettable memories. Furthermore, the result shows how all experienced a second chance in life. Experiencing a train crash meant that the passengers experienced severe vulnerability and a threat to life and interdependence turned out to play a crucial role. Focusing on helping other passengers on site was one way to regain the loss of control and kept the chaos at bay. Family, friends, and fellow passengers turned out to be extremely important during the recovery process why such closeness should be promoted and facilitated.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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