EMT Graduates Record a “Save”
A basic patient transfer call quickly accelerated into a life-and-death situation for a pair of EMT graduates of St. Louis Community College in August.
Fortunately for the patient in distress, rookie EMT Riley Haug and his partner Craig Ingram, along with emergency room staff a local hospital were able to resuscitate the man and save his life.
“This was my first time working anyone in cardiac arrest. The situation was fast moving, but coordinated,” said Haug, 19, of his first “save.”
Ingram, who was in the back of the ambulance treating the patient, was clearing the man’s airway with suction while Haug began pulling out of the ambulance bay. At that point, the situation took a dramatic turn.
“I started hearing Craig say the patient’s name over and over, getting louder each time,” Haug recalled. “After him repeating his name and doing a sternum rub, which I couldn’t see but he later told me he was doing, he yelled for me to ‘get back here with me.’ I immediately knew something bad had just happened.”
Haug immediately returned to the ambulance bay and sought help from ER staff while Ingram continued treatment. Haug and an ER nurse returned to the ambulance.
“When I returned with the nurse, he got in the back, put on a pair of gloves and did a pulse check. He immediately called over his phone that there was a ‘code blue in the ambulance bay,'” Haug said. “Within 10 seconds, at least 10 nurses came rushing out to the ambulance bay to help us get the patient inside.”
Haug quickly removed the stretcher, while Ingram started chest compressions. They moved the patient into a room and then to a bed. A nurse began ventilating the man while Ingram and Haug continued compressions. Haug said nurses quickly applied the AED pads that were in the ambulance and attached the man to the 12 lead EKG. He received epinephrine. While Haug and Ingram administered a few more cardiopulmonary resuscitation cycles, nurses intubated the patient. Nurses checked the lead, and the man returned to normal sinus rhythm and had a pulse again.
“To say that my heart was racing would be an understatement,” Haug said. “It was definitely the most stressful situation I have ever been in before, but I knew what I needed to do, and I know it is because I had such a great EMT instructor.”
Haug decided an EMT career suited him after a conversation with coworker at Mom’s Deli in St. Louis City, whose husband is an EMT.
“She described everything he does at his job, and started talking about it more and more,” Haug said. “I did some research for myself and thought it would be something I enjoyed. I have loved it ever since I stepped foot into the first day of classes."
Haug gave high marks to EMT instructor Steve Newcomb.
“I think that the instruction was incredible,” he said. “It was a very demanding course, but it definitely prepared me very well for my first EMT job at Medic One.”
Haug earned his EMT certificate and license in February. He then was hired at Medic One Ambulance Service in early May.
”It’s very gratifying knowing that I do have the ability to help save someone’s life, and that was I was able to use my skills that I learned to help that patient to the best of my ability,” Haug said.
“We are very proud of the students that are completing this rigorous program. They are an amazing asset to our community and very needed,” said Julie Fickas, Ed.D., campus president and chief academic officer at STLCC-Forest Park.
Get more information about STLCC’s EMT program.