Erlanger Health System’s air medical program, LIFE FORCE, held a ceremony to honor local EMS heroes who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the inaugural Call of the Year awards during national EMS Week. LIFE FORCE flight crew members and awards committee selected outstanding calls in the categories of Medical, Pediatric and Trauma.
Medical Call of the Year was awarded to Scott Garrison and Myron Schroepfer of Hamilton County EMS and Larry Robbins of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. The patient suffered a heart attack while hunting alone in the woods. He was several miles away from help and traveled as far as he could. When he spoke with dispatch he was asked to fire his gun in order to help rescuers locate him. This gave a general direction, but he was not located until the responders heard him whistling in response to their calls as he was too weak to respond otherwise. The first responders’ perseverance to find his location and provide medical care before transport helped to keep the patient alive.
LIFE FORCE 2 crew members’ nomination for Pediatric Call of the Year recognized Jamie Hillis Parsley and Greta Stone of Dekalb County EMS and the St. Thomas Dekalb Emergency Room for their quick response and treatment of a 2-year-old child with inhalation burns from a house fire. This is a difficult diagnosis as the evidence of injury is not an immediate wound one can see with the naked eye. These EMS workers and Emergency Department personnel did not cease until the patient was stabilized.
Trauma Call of the Year went to Tim Nelson and Whitney Howard of AMR McMinn County and Paul Johnson, Brad Johnston, Brian Greenlaw, John Amos and Will Davis of the McMinn county Sheriff’s Office. These first responders applied lifesaving tourniquets to a patient injured in a motor vehicle accident. . The patient suffered multiple broken bones, a severe head injury and near amputation of both legs. Without this team’s forethought and instinct to apply tourniquets, the patient would not have survived.
Erlanger’s Dr. Lisa Smith recognized the first responders who worked the Woodmore bus crash in November of 2016. Hamilton County EMS, Puckett EMS, Angel EMS, Chattanooga Police Department, Chattanooga Fire Department, CHI Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service, Southeast Ambulance Service and Bradley County EMS were are given a token of appreciate with the deepest gratitude and honor for their service in a tragic time for the area. Working together, these departments were able to save many lives that day and honor those lost.
The Erlanger Regional Operations Center (EROC) was dedicated in memory of the late Dr. James Creel with his family present to witness the honor. Dr. Creel will always be remembered as a pioneering physician and visionary leader in the Emergency Medicine community. He impacted thousands of lives as a leader, teacher and medical professional. Dr. Creel was ABEM certified for more than 30 years and certified in Undersea and Hyperbaric medicine. He was instrumental in designing and developing both an Emergency Medicine Residency and EMS Fellowship training and was the Medical Director of Pre Hospital and Disaster Medicine, EROC and Tennessee’s Region 3 Regional Medical Control Center at Erlanger. He held many leadership positions at Erlanger and within the community. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Medical Director of Puckett EMS and has served as Medical Director of Hamilton County EMS for the past 28 years. He laid the foundation for our current EMS system through vigilant training and support for our local EMS personnel.
EMS Week, May 21-27, honors the first responders, EMS workers and Emergency Medicine personnel in the nation. These men and women are responsible for delivering top-notch care to patients in their time of need. Erlanger is fortunate to work with these professionals, both on their team and in partnerships around the region. This year's theme is "EMS Strong: Always in Service."