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Dispatchers, EMS are heroes, too

Posted: February 16, 2017 3:44 p.m.
Updated: February 17, 2017 1:00 a.m.

After writing up my recent stories on 3-year-old Brayden, the little boy who survived a drowning incident several weeks ago, I received an email from Kershaw County Emergency Management Services (EMS) Deputy Director Gerald Blanchard.

Blanchard very rightly pointed out to me that in reporting on the original near-tragedy and Brayden’s recovery, I had missed the great work performed by Kershaw County 911 Dispatch and the EMS team that responded to Brayden’s parents’ call.

It was Monday, Jan. 23, at 1508, or 3:08 p.m. According to Blanchard’s information, only 12 minutes elapsed from the call  coming in to EMS leaving the scene with Brayden.

“Information was quickly and professionally taken by the dispatcher and forwarded to responding agencies at 1509,” Blanchard wrote. “Lugoff Fire responded (to) the same (call) with EMS signing (they were) enroute at 1510. Fire first responders arrived at approximately 1514, taking over CPR with EMS arriving and taking over complete patient care at 1517. (The) care of (the) patient was continued by EMS with the unit departing (the) scene at 1521 being driven by (a) Lugoff Fire first responder.”

Here’s what Blanchard described happening inside that ambulance for the next 10 minutes:

“En route to KershawHealth, the patient received advanced life support care to include airway management, cardiac monitoring with first line cardiac drugs administered, intrasseous infusion with hypothermia protocol followed, along with passive re-warming, as well as continued CPR,” Blanchard related. “All procedures (were) performed by the Kershaw County EMS Paramedic and Advanced EMT while en route to the hospital. (The) patient was transported to KershawHealth ER with intersections cleared via dispatch with information relayed to (the) Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office and Camden Police Department. EMS had a total patient contact time of 14 minutes until care was handed over to the prepared, caring staff of KershawHealth ER at 1531.”

Blanchard said there was a “total team effort that went into making this call a success” and I wholeheartedly agree.

He said Kershaw County EMS has 34 full-time and 30 part-time “highly trained, dedicated” team members who make a “huge impact on the lives of those (who) request our services daily. We carry out our mission quietly, efficiently and professionally showing compassion, respect and dignity to those who entrust us with their care.”

Absolutely true.

Dispatchers are the first line of contact the public has with getting help, especially during emergencies. They must be calm, cool and collected while listening to what are, sometimes, the most harrowing of circumstances any of us can imagine facing. And they must quickly relay this information to first responders so the people who call 911 can get the help they need as quickly as possible.

In turn, EMS personnel must respond quickly, bring all their training to bear on the moment at hand and do everything they can to save lives.

It would seem to me, then, that much of Brayden’s miracle started that Monday afternoon with Kershaw County’s dispatchers and EMS personnel, and I thank Blanchard very much for pointing that out to me.

I am sure, as Lugoff Fire-Rescue Chief Dennis Ray told me at the time, dispatchers and EMS staff find situations like Brayden’s absolutely heart-wrenching. Many of them, I’m sure, are parents, too. I hope they know how thankful we are for the jobs they do, everyday.

If they don’t, then let me make it clear: Dispatchers and EMS personnel are heroes, too. We thank you for your service, sacrifice and the great work you do for all of Kershaw County.

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