Two EMT students help save two lives

Published 4:49 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

Days after completing their textbook chapter on cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), two Bainbridge College students in the Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) program helped revive two individuals in separate incidences.

Barbara Conley of Bainbridge and Andy Dukes of Donalsonville worked different clinical rounds in November with Decatur County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) when the incidences occurred.

“Twenty-one years ago I lost a son,” said Conley, explaining her interest in the EMT program. “If I had known CPR, he might have been saved.”

Email newsletter signup

She started her health care studies at BC and earned a certificate as a certified nurse’s assistant from the Technical Studies Division, then became a phlebotomy technician. She works at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital as she continues her career studies to become an EMT.

Dukes’ interest stems from his work as a volunteer firefighter in Seminole County. He has an associate’s degree in business administration from BC and works at Rite Aid in Donalsonville.

About 8 a.m. during Conley’s 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift the first day of her clinical rounds with EMS the call came about an unresponsive male. Decatur County first responders had started CPR when she arrived with Decatur County EMS personnel. Paramedic Frank Killabrew started to work as did EMTs Brian Cox and Mark Hall.

“Mark started chest compressions,” said Conley. “I saw Mark needed my help and I helped. Instinct and training took over,” she said, noting they handled that work while paramedics and EMTs started IVs and clearing airways.

“I was scared but it was a beautiful thing afterward. Saving a life is what the job is about,” she said. After they transported the patient to the emergency room, the situation began to sink in and she cried.

For the second call of their work day, Dukes’ group responded to an unresponsive male moments after dropping off a patient at the hospital. When they arrived at the site, first responders and employees were giving CPR. Then EMT Cox took over the chest compressions and Dukes handled respiration, breathing for the patient whose heart started beating about nine minutes later.

“It was interesting,” Dukes said. “We did everything we had just learned in class. It just kicked in. I’m happy I knew what was going on as it happened. It was a good feeling.”

“I am so proud of these students and what they did helping to bring patients out of cardiac arrest,” said EMT Instructor/Coordinator Randy Williams. “We are privileged to be able to do clinicals with the very knowledgeable and competent professionals at Decatur County EMS,” added Williams, who has passed the Level III EMS Instructor Boards, which makes him pare of a very small group of professionals licensed to teach paramedic technology in Georgia.

Williams, who heads the new Paramedic Technology Program, looks forward to seeing his students continue to develop their skills. Dukes is among the EMT students who plan to continue their studies at BC after completing EMT training and go on to the Paramedic Technology program for which classes start Jan. 7.