MIDLOTHIAN

Three Midlothian firefighters where honored for saving the life of a stroke patient with no time to spare. Staff members with Mansfield Methodist Hospital presented its life-saving award to firefighters Ryan Weaver, Derek Bailey and Jeremy Omelia.

Bailey stated they were dispatched to the Martin Marietta Cement Plant in April to a man who was showing stroke-like symptoms. Within a few minutes of their arrival, they were able to confirm the diagnosis.

“We decided to get in route to the hospital as fast as we could,” Bailey relayed. “We then called and activated code stroke, which is a system that we have at the hospital where they will have a team available when we arrive.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. Prompt treatment is crucial.

"We got in route pretty quick and got to the hospital 23 minutes after we made patient contact, and I believe that included a 13 or 14-mile drive,” Bailey recalled. “Once he got to the hospital they already had the team prepared and the systems in place when we rolled through the door.”

He noted the benchmark, in this case, is start treatment within 90 minutes of the call.

Weaver, a Midlothian firefighter, said he just focused on his job because it was a race against time.

“The main thing that I was thinking at the time is we need to get him into the back of the ambulance and drive pretty quickly to the hospital,” Weaver said. “Then give them [hospital staff] enough of a heads up on their end.”

Weaver added it was a great feeling to be recognized, "but we were just doing our job and what we were trained to do that day."

Karen Yates, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, praised the firefighters for their hard work in providing excellent patient care.

“Not only did they recognize right away what was happing right away with the patient but activated the processes we have at the hospital. They wasted no time,” Yates elaborated. “They had the patient in 23 minutes from the time they laid eyes on him. That allowed a lot of things to happen really, really quickly.”

Yates pointed out that a fast response from firefighters set some records at the hospital in regards to treatment times.

Methodist recognized Bailey individually as paramedic of the year as well. The paramedic of the year is selected through nominations made by EMS agencies, fire departments, doctors and clinical staff in the emergency department. This is the eighth year of the award and the fourth time it has been awarded to a member of the Midlothian Fire Department.

Bailey stated the crew was just doing their jobs that day. If they were not on call, the patient would have gotten the same level of care due to the highly trained personnel at the fire department.

“It is nice for our crew that somebody sees we are trying all we can for our community,” Bailey expressed. “We are glad that people are seeing that we are trying everything that we can to provide the best level of care for the community.”