The EMS Council of New Jersey (EMSCNJ) has bestowed its 2018 Outstanding Rescue/Call of the Year Award on four emergency medical technicians (EMTs) from two volunteer squads for their attempts to save a bleeding patient.
On Dec. 20, 2017, Laurie Luster, Brian Turner and Chief Kenneth Weinberg of Quakertown Volunteer Emergency Medical Services, and Kingwood Township First Aid & Rescue Squad President Wilfrid W. Wong answered an 8:42 a.m. call for a laceration. Luster and Turner responded in Rescue 57, a weekdays-only joint venture between the squads, with shared personnel, equipment and housing.
Rescue 57 enables EMS coverage for both rural communities while allowing the organizations to remain staffed by volunteers during difficult–to-cover shifts. Weinberg and Wong responded directly to the scene.
At the apartment, the EMTs found a pale, unconscious elderly female. The crew soon realized blood was surging from what appeared to be an open, damaged dialysis shunt in the patient’s left arm.
The EMTs immediately applied pressure to the hemorrhage area, followed quickly by a tourniquet above the site to stem the bleeding. As his partners transferred the patient to a portable, flexible stretcher, Turner applied supplemental oxygen.
While the group moved swiftly to the ambulance, Luster, who had been unable to find medical information on the patient during a brief scan of the apartment, noticed a piece of mail with a woman’s name on it by the door. She shoved the letter in her pocket, hoping it would help the hospital staff identify the patient.
Total on-scene time: eight minutes.
With the closest paramedic unit 17 minutes away – in the other direction – the crew departed for Hunterdon Medical Center, nearly 20 miles away.
During transport, the patient went into respiratory arrest. While the others assisted the patient with ventilations, one of the crew called ahead to alert the ER staff. By the time the ambulance arrived at the hospital, the patient was again breathing on her own.
The letter Luster grabbed from the apartment proved useful in identifying the patient and enabled the hospital staff to contact her daughter. The ER charge nurse and a physician commended the EMTs for their quick thinking and invaluable care, which they said prolonged the patient’s life and allowed her family to be at bedside when the woman died hours later.
The 89-year-old nonprofit New Jersey State First Aid Council, doing business as the EMSCNJ, represents 20,000 EMS volunteers affiliated with 260 EMS agencies throughout the state.