Cooperation between squads on display at rescue call to Knights Stadium

mharrison@fortmilltimes.comApril 8, 2013 

— When the Fort Mill Rescue Squad responded to a call at Knights Stadium recently, it encountered a situation that’s far from rare, but certainly not run of the mill.

This call, on March 30, brought them to a 68-year-old man who, for all intents and purposes, was not alive just minutes earlier. The man o had collapsed and stopped breathing before receiving CPR from bystanders – including one who said he could not detect a pulse in the victim. He was barely alive when the rescue squad EMTs took over. They used a defibrillator to stimulate the man’s heart before stabilizing him and rushing him to Charlotte Medical Center-Pineville, the hospital closest to the stadium.

“Although some of our calls are critical, most are not of this nature,” Fort Mill Rescue Squad Director Timothy McMichael said last week.

The Fort Mill squad arrived just ahead of a crew from Piedmont Medical Center and, with Fort Mill EMTs Thomas Burdette and Nicole McGinnis taking the lead, the two squads worked together, McMichael said.

“Since Fort Mill Rescue was first on the scene, we were primarily responsible for the patient’s care and transportation,” he said.

“It depends on what the situation is, but the same crews [from the FMRS and PMC] are in Fort Mill on a standard rotation, so we all know each other. We don’t have ‘common’ protocols, but many of our patient protocols are the same, so it worked out very well.”

McMichael praised the work of the bystanders – Tega Cay resident Corey Anderson and Tasia Lung and Leah Rubertino of Ballantyne, N.C. – for their quick action. Anderson, a sales account executive for the Fort Mill Times, and Rubertino, a WBTV sports anchor, were at the stadium to play in an all-media softball game that was part of the annual KnightsFest. Lung, a certified EMT and a recent transplant from Indiana, was there to enjoy the fan festival.

“Anecdotally, I think you probably could not have asked for more,” McMichael said. “Trained and capable people were there who knew what had to be done and did it, and that was all the difference. They really closed the gap from the time it happened and when we got there and they deserve a lot of credit for that as well.”

Cooperation among PMC’s EMTS and York County’s volunteer rescue squads has been an issue for years and since 2011 York County Council members have been trying to hammer out emergency response standards to regulate operation and ensure fairness. Council has delayed action multiple times while a committee led by Councilman Joe Cox, whose district covers 46 percent of the county, has been weighing options. Cox said previously the contract issue wouldn’t return to the full council before the April 8 meeting, or even as late as the April 22 council meeting.

Volunteer units have taken issue with several proposed requirements in the past, some even saying they may be forced shut down if certain new rules are put in place.

In the meantime, if the call at Knights Stadium is any indication, the EMTs may have found common ground on their own.

“We’re extremely proud of how hard our staff worked with Piedmont,” McMichael said.

McMichael said he’s not been invited to meet with the committee, but has talked with District 1 Councilman Michael Johnson (R-Tega Cay), who he said “continues to be active in listening to our concerns” and “has been very gracious with his time.”

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