Above & Beyond

September 2008

On Friday September 5, 2008 once again the system was put to the test and we passed with flying colors!  Between 0730 and 1230 there were 16 calls for service in our response area 10 of which came in between 0800 -1000. This included a Hazardous Materials call which evolved into several hours of stand by time for 82-15 and a call which took 82-75 to Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.  We were able to put 2 more crews into service quickly by paging part timers through the Roam Secure System.

On September 21, 2008 at 2331 crews were call to a home for a Woman in active labor.  At 2348 the infant was born with the assistance of EMT’s Rachel Burr and Jaymie Whitley.  After several photos and some happy moments Mother and infant were transported to the hospital.  A follow up visit by Lt. McKelligett on the 30th finds everyone happy and healthy. The family has promised to provide photo’s for our GCEMS Family Album.  Congratulations to EMT Burr and Whitley; this was their first born! 

On September 23rd GCEMS crews from 1, 2 and 3 were called to a dwelling fire.  This was a quick moving fire in the home of a disabled elderly female.  The elderly female presented with potential airway/inhalation burns which were quickly recognized as life threatening by our staff - but not the patient.  In spite of her reluctance to go to the hospital our crews were able convince her to be transported.  While on scene medical screening / rehab stations were established. Fire Officials commended our crews on their performance stating they acted quickly, purposefully and above all professionally

July 2008

On Friday July 25th at 1652 units were dispatched to a fire in an apartment complex.  Within minutes it was obvious that this was going to be a large scale, lengthy event requiring multiple disciplines and resources.  The first response units from Station 7 and 8 were immediately committed to the fire scene.  Lt. Rosser was the on duty Supervisor and assumed command as EMS Branch Director.  Within the next several minutes this fire escalated to 3 alarms significantly increasing the number of personnel working a hot fire in environmentally excessive heat conditions.   The location of the fire scene, a highway currently closed for repair, created additional obstacles and requiring sub-divisions of EMS and rehab at the fire scene.  Additional EMS units needed to be deployed on either side of the fire scene in order to not only access the scene but also to respond to calls in and around that geographic response area.   Through the combined efforts of on and off duty staff within a short period of time, GCEMS was able to assemble an additional 7 fully staffed ambulances with 2 field Supervisors, 1 Medical Director (yes Doc went to the scene) with 2 Administrators and a Supervisor in Headquarters.  Lt. Rosser did an excellent job of initiating and coordinating EMS at the fire scene.  Lt. McKelligett did an equally fine job of keeping the remaining resources strategically deployed and coordinating clean up and restoration of vehicles and supplies after our department was released from the fire scene.  I am happy to report that there were no injuries requiring transport to the hospital. 

May 2008

On May 12th one of our crews was dispatched to a maternity call.   EMT Karen O’Connor delivered the baby while in route to the hospital.  Mom called to thank EMT O’Connor and Cella for being there for her and her infant when she needed them.

The following is from an e-mail sent to GCEMS

Yesterday my daughter was hit in her car in Swedesboro. The ambulance was called to take her to Underwood to be checked out. Chad, Chuck, and another gentleman, whose name I did not get, responded. They were the nicest, politest people. They explained everything they were doing for my daughter, and she told me they kept joking with her and making her laugh the whole ride to Woodbury. Please thank them for me and tell them what a great job they did.

The following is from a Thank you card sent to GCEMS from grateful family members

Heartfelt thanks to all who responded to our 9-1-1 call on May 7th.  Your efficiency and skill was a great source of comfort in assisting a 79 year old stroke patient who was having a seizure.  Your team created an environment of knowledgeable care in an emotionally chaotic one.  We are grateful for all that you did and continue to do in your service to our county.  Due to your quick response; the patient did arrive at Underwood before having a second seizure.  In choosing to use emergency services, it was detected that she had fluid in her right lung.  She was in the hospital for a week, but is how home and doing well.

We would like to recognize Lt. Rosser for his rather unique way of making patient contact.  The Alarm Room received a call from a woman in active labor.  She told the dispatcher that she was new to the area and having a house built, however she was temporarily living in an apartment. Unfortunately she was so unfamiliar with her surroundings that she could only provide the name of street but not the town.  The dispatcher notified Lt. Rosser of the situation and dispatched an ambulance.  Lt Rosser believed the incident to be at another location so while the ambulance went one way he went another.  The dispatcher kept the woman on the phone and with the dispatcher as a liaison Lt. Rosser drove through the area periodically sounding the siren to see if the patient could here him.  Believe it or not he found her! The ambulance was re-directed and the patient, with delivery imminent was transported to the UMH safely.

April 2008

On April 15, 2008 at 2332 hours EMT’s Phil Mastroeni and Kristy Shannon responded to a call for a lift assist.  Upon arrival the crew found the door to be locked.  Attempting to make verbal contact the occupant could be heard but her responses was not discernable. Fearing the occupant may have an altered mental status resulting from illness or injury, the crew summoned the appropriate resources to gain entry into the apartment.  After entry was made the patient was found on the floor.  Further evaluation determined that she was in fact cognitive-just hard of hearing.  The EMT’s now joined by Lt. Rosser assessed the patient for injuries and found none related to the current situation.  The patient had a fractured arm from a fall about a week ago, which contributed to her inability to get up once she had fallen today.  Refusing treatment or transport the patient requested the crew assist her back to bed. After getting her settled in bed EMT Shannon then re-filled the ice pack for the patients arm, cleaned out her bedpan and even fixed the patients walker.  As they exited the residence they shut off the lights and locked the door leaving the patient safe and secure.  

It should also be noted that this information was brought to our attention via a special report filed by EMT Mastroeni intended to commend his partner on her thoughtfulness, compassion and professionalism.  In the same report he also commends Lt. Rosser on his leadership and professionalism.  I am very proud of each of these individuals and echo the accolades voiced by EMT Mastroeni.  EMT Mastroeni has further demonstrated his level of professionalism through his kind words for his fellow staff members.

On April 29th our Emergency Response system was put to the test in a big way.  Between 0727 hrs and 1126 hrs GCEMS received 17 calls for service throughout our Primary Response Area.  Fourteen of those were within 2 hours.  Five calls were dispatched between 0830 hrs and 0850 hrs another 5 between 0913 hrs and 0948 hrs.  After a 10 minute reprieve another round of 4 came in between 1008 hrs and 1042 hrs. Our supervisor and crews began the “GCEMS Two-Step Shuffle” immediately.  We were able to call in an additional crew which also hit the ground running. 

Below you will find excerpts from the EMS Supervisors report from April 29th day shift.  As you can see Lt. Mckelligett express’s his gratitude to the alarm room for their assistance.  I would like to echo his remarks and add that the alarm room rose to the challenge as well.  Let’s face it; if we are that busy it only stands to reason that they are even busier. Fortunately with the combination of resources, technology and street savvy demonstrated by the dispatchers and street personnel, we were able to respond to every incident and do what we do best; serve the residents of Gloucester County.

Shift Report 4/29/08

I responded to another respiratory call in Clayton, where I accessed and treated the patient until 82-66 arrived.  Finally, before leaving the fine Borough of Clayton, I rescued a little girl who had a ring stuck on her finger.

**Assisted 82-76 with a fall victim in West Deptford.
**Last Item: Much thanks and appreciation to the alarm room (Supervisor and EMS board) while on location with patients, they moved ambulances around the county to fill the voids. It was comforting to hear them being moved by radio, knowing the areas were being covered.

March 2008

In the field of emergency medical service we pride ourselves on being able to utilize the latest technology to save a patient’s life.  AED's that can shock a patient’s fibrillating heart have become smaller, lighter and smarter.  Suction units that are powerful enough to clear a blocked airway are now small enough to be held in one hand.  Automated CPR devices are now able to deliver continuous chest compressions at a higher quality and for a longer period of time than any EMS provider is able to.  AT GCEMS, we have saved patients with use of an Epi-Pen, as we are one of the first agencies in South Jersey carrying them on our ambulances.

GCEMS staff members Jamie Reimer and Patrick McIlhenney saved a patient’s life, and they saved that life without the use of any of the above mentioned technology.  They saved a patient’s life with the simplest of things.  They saved a patient’s life because they cared enough to do the right thing, and provide exceptional service.

On March 5, they were dispatched to a residence for an elderly patient that lived alone and was found on the floor by a neighbor.  It appeared that the patient had been lying on the floor for 2 days before being found by the neighbor.  After assisting the patient off of the floor and assessing for injuries, Jamie and Patrick attempted to convince the patient to accept treatment and transportation to the hospital.  Despite the best efforts of the GCEMS crew, the police officers on-scene and the patient’s neighbor, the patient declined all offers and refused treatment and transportation against medical advice.

The next day, without suggestion from anyone, Jamie and Patrick (being concerned for the well-being of this patient) went back to the residence to “check” on the patient.  Upon knocking on the door, they were greeted by cries for help from inside.  Finding the residence locked, they summoned assistance from the police department.  The police department forced entry into the residence and the GCEMS crew and the police officer found the patient had fallen again, this time in shower, approximately 15 hours earlier.  This time the crew was successful in convincing the patient to accept treatment and transportation to the ED.

Chief Andy Lovell stated "I am convinced that this patient's outcome would have been far worse if it were not for the foresight, concern and compassion of GCEMS staff members Jamie Reimer and Patrick McIlhenney.  While we often marvel at the tools we carry to save a life; often as in this case, it is the simplest of things that can truly make a difference.  Jamie and Patrick truly cared about the well-being of this patient and their concern saved this patient’s life".

The Mantua VFW Post 7679 awarded the GC EMS crew for their actions. 

During the late evening hours of Friday March 15, GCEMS staff members Warren Stewart and Tara Frye were dispatched to a residence for a person that had fallen.  Upon arrival they were greeted by an elderly patient bleeding from several minor lacerations.  After assessing the gentleman and cleansing his wounds, the patient refused transportation but requested assistance ambulating into his bathroom.  They then assisted the patient in changing into clean clothing.  The crew then took additional time and removed soiled sheets from the patient’s bed and replaced them with clean ones.

After the patient was settled into bed, he mentioned that he had not eaten all day.  After contacting the on-duty supervisor, Warren and Tara then went to the Wawa and purchased hot soup for the resident and assisted him with the first hot meal he had consumed in days.  If all of this was not enough, Warren and Tara then made arrangements for a friend to drive him to the pharmacy the next day to have his prescriptions refilled.

The following day Warren was not working but saw to it that the crew did a well being check and as a result, this time he went to the hospital.

January 2008

On January 4th GCEMS staff members James Butch and Matt Ebersold were dispatched to a minor motor vehicle accident.  The operator of the vehicle was an insulin dependant diabetic.  The operator was on his way to eat lunch as he had just treated himself with his insulin, but had not yet eaten when the accident occurred. The driver was completely appropriate on-scene and refused the multiple offers of care from the GCEMS crew.  His car was damaged and not able to be driven from the scene, requiring a tow to the local towing agency’s storage yard.  The crew contacted Deputy Chief Vitale to see if we could offer some sort of shelter for the gentleman as it would take a while for someone to pick him up and the temperatures were frigid.  However the tow driver said he would be welcome to wait at the tow yard.  The driver was taken to the tow yard to await a ride from a friend who was a significant distance away.

Staff members Butch and Ebersold, recognizing that the individual’s blood sugar level would drop to a potentially dangerous level if he did not eat lunch, took it upon themselves to go out and buy this gentleman lunch and deliver it to him at the tow yard.

December 2007

December 2007- Last week three elderly people were exiting their vehicle in the driveway to go into the house when one of them slipped on the icy surface.  She realized what was happening and sort of eased her way to the ground by holding onto the car.  Her elderly companions were not able to help her up and feared falling on top of her making a bad situation worse.  Frozen with fear and the cold night air; they called 911 and an ambulance was dispatched for a lift assist.  Lt. Rich McKelligett was nearby and responded also.  The crew and Rich helped the lady off the ground and escorted all three into the home safely.  After confirming that the fall victim was indeed un-injured, EMS staff exited the home and did what they could to eliminate the slip hazard in the driveway.  Lt. McKelligett went the extra step to go to a local grocery and buy some ice melt and deliver it to the grateful home owner.

November 2007

EMT Jason Phillips delivered a baby on Thanksgiving Day. Mother, Father, Baby and EMT are all doing fine.

October 2007

October 27, 2007 GCEMS crew members Warren Stewart and Jaymie Whitley were dispatched to a restaurant for an individual who was choking.  Any EMS provider can tell you; this type of call usually results in a recall because the individual choking has always been able to remedy the situation before your arrival.

Arriving within 3 minutes of dispatch, crew members Stewart and Whitley found a male unconscious and not breathing on the restaurant floor.  At the time of dispatch, the patient was conscious.  Recognizing that cardiac arrest was imminent, crew member Stewart immediately began abdominal thrust to dislodge the food bolus.  After several thrust, the object was cleared and the patient began to breathe on his own.  The patient eventually refused treatment and transportation against the advice of the GCEMS crew.

This is one of those rare instances where a life was saved because of the immediate and life saving care provided by the GCEMS crew.  Crew members Stewart and Whitley prevented what would have clearly evolved into cardiac arrest.

Congratulations to these 2 GCEMS staff members for giving this patient another opportunity to enjoy a meal with his family.