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Local EMS brings 6 back to life in last 12 months

Screven County’s Emergency Medical Services can seem like life savers, swooping into a home where a person is unresponsive or hurt to treat and transfer the wounded person to a hospital better fit for treatment. But what happens when EMS arrives at the scene of a person who has stopped breathing and has no pulse?
In the last year Screven’s EMS and first responders have saved six people, which means they’ve brought back six people who had gone into full cardiac arrest – or clinical death. Their emergency responses have become almost automatic, Chief of Screven County EMS Gary Pinard said.
“These guys practice a lot of this stuff daily so it’s second nature,” Pinard said.
EMS does not see a lot of saves, which makes this run unique. It’s estimated less than 1 percent of patients who go into full cardiac arrest are brought back to “spontaneous circulation” by CPR and other medical devices like defibrillators and shots.
“We’ve had six (saves) total in 12 months and that’s a very high percentage,” he said. “We’ve had four in the last six months, six in the last 12 months, and previous to that we’ve probably resuscitated six in the last six years, so the advances in our medicine, our training, our equipment, our response times, our knowledge of the county, all these variables are important to speed up their response to get somewhere quicker and apply the tools we use.”
Laurie Coombe, a paramedic with SCEMS, said she saved the life of a woman three to four months ago. When the patient’s family called E-911 saying the woman had gone unresponsive and stopped breathing.
Coombe said the training and medical technology is starting to make an obvious difference in saves. She said it brings light to a sometimes overly dark job.
“It kind of justifies your job,” she said. “You get used to so many things that are negative at times. It really makes you want to keep doing what you’re doing, to get better at it.”
Pinard said saves and giving patients the best possible emergency first response makes the team of EMS personnel keep going.
“This is the encouragement we need to keep us going,” he said.