Members of DeKalb County EMS, DeKalb 911, and Erlanger Life Force were honored Thursday, May 5 at the 8th annual EMS Star of Life Awards Dinner and Ceremony held in Nashville by the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children.
For their efforts in helping save the life of an eight year old boy who was critically injured last summer in a boating accident on Center Hill Lake, Misty Green, AEMT and David Hamlet, EMT-P, both of DeKalb EMS; Chase Ferrell and Tony Thomas, both DeKalb 911 Dispatchers; and Ray Cadwallader, EMT-P, Laura Kirk,RN; Heather Marsh, Karen Mulvaney, RN; and Chuck Nabors, Pilot all of Erlanger Life Force received the Dr. Michael Carr Tennessee EMSC Star of Life Award, the highest award given at the dinner.
The EMS Star of Life honors the accomplishments of EMS personnel from Tennessee who provide exemplary life-saving care to patients. The Awards Committee reviews nominations and selects winners from each of Tennessee’s 8 EMS Regions and a state winner based on the EMS provider’s service to their community and commitment to their patients. The awards were presented by Dr. Michael Carr, Tennessee EMSC Board member, for whom the award is named, and Donna Tidwell, EMS Director of the Tennessee Department of Health.
Last June, eight year old Aiden Brown, his family, and friends were on Center Hill Lake enjoying their new pontoon boat. Aiden was sitting near the front of the boat and his mother, Julie, was sitting near the back of the boat watching Aiden. Julie turned to look at the tube that was being pulled behind the boat with someone on it. When she looked back for Aiden, he was gone.
They immediately shut down the engine and Aiden resurfaced about 10 feet behind the boat.
His life vest was shredded and he was bleeding badly. Aiden’s father, Troy, dove in as the person on the tube began to swim to Aiden, too. They pulled him onto the boat and 911 was called. Fortunately the call was able to get out as most of the lake has bad reception.
Aiden’s face, head, and neck had been cut badly by the rotor on the boat. Along with lacerations to his face, he had an open wound that extended across his neck to his bottom lip, and an 8 inch laceration across his chest that exposed his heart and lungs. They used towels to apply pressure and do all they could to control the bleeding while driving as fast as they could to the closest marina.
When DeKalb County 911 received the call, they not only dispatched DeKalb County EMS to the marina, they also put LIFE FORCE 2 in Sparta on standby. As the family pulled into the marina, the ambulance was backing in. Troy carried Aiden to the ambulance and he and the EMS crew worked to control the bleeding while rushing to the nearest landing zone. LIFE FORCE 2 had just landed in the grassy area as the ambulance pulled up.
The LIFE FORCE 2 crew joined the EMS crew in working to stabilize Aiden. Within 26, minutes, his bleeding and airway were controlled, he was placed on a ventilator, under anesthesia, given pain medication and loaded into the back of the aircraft all through the efforts of Aiden’s dad, DeKalb County EMS, and LIFE FORCE.
During the 25-minute flight to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, Aiden received warmed blood and plasma and his vital signs and color began to improve. Once arriving at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, Aiden went straight into the children’s trauma unit and was immediately evaluated by Pediatric Trauma Surgeon, Dr. Pete Kelley, and the pediatric trauma team. He was rushed to surgery where they repaired his open chest wounds including the heart, lungs, spleen, liver, and sternum. He was then taken to CT for evaluation of his head, neck, and facial injuries and returned to surgery where those were also repaired. During surgery, Aiden received four additional units of blood products and following surgery, was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit.
The second day after surgery, Aiden was taken off the ventilator, his breathing tube was removed, and he was awake. On day three, he continued to improve and his right side chest drainage tube was removed. The fourth day after surgery, his left side drainage tube was removed and on day five, he started a liquid diet, taking medications by mouth and was moved out of PICU, into a normal room. On day eight, Aiden was discharged and returned to Sparta with his family.
Last December Aiden was named one of Children’s Hospital’s Miracle Children.
“I am very proud of my crews who tended to and assisted in saving the life of Aiden. DeKalb County should also be proud to have such trained and dedicated personnel in our community working for us,” said DeKalb EMS Director Hoyte Hale.