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EMS banquet honors critical lifesaving work

May 15, 2004|By WANDA T. WILLIAMS

Nearly 100 Washington County emergency rescue service workers were recognized on Friday for successfully reviving cardiac arrest patients on emergency calls.

"Most of you can feel the stress of understaffing and an excessive call load," said Dr. Stephen Kotch, emergency medical services director for Washington County.

Kotch addressed a crowd of about 200 at Friday night's third annual Emergency Medical Services Awards Banquet at the Four Points Sheraton in Hagerstown. The event was sponsored by Washington County Hospital and Washington County Emergency Medicine Physicians LLC.

Washington County EMS staff and members of Washington County Fire and Rescue's emergency rescue staff were on hand. Kotch said there are about 400 active EMS workers who deliver medical care to Washington County residents.

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"If we have someone who comes in the hospital in cardiac arrest, we're really behind the eight ball," Kotch said. "If survival is going to happen, it's typically going to happen in the field."

Which is why EMS work is critical in saving lives.

"Normally in EMS, it's a thankless job and no one gets recognized for a job well done," said Stephen Barnhart of Hancock Rescue Squad Company 59. Barnhart received a Resuscitation Award for saving Ernest Shives, a longtime resident of Hancock.

Carol Grove, a nurse educator with Washington County Hospital, also received the Citizen's Award for performing CPR on Shives, who happens to be her father, before Hancock paramedics arrived in May 2003.

"Clearly, I have my dad and that's all that matters," said Grove, who cried as she received her award. "We all need to know how to do it. You never know when you're going to have to use it."

The awards banquet is held annually in May to tie in with National Emergency Medical Services Week. This year, EMS Week will be observed from May 16-22.

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