EMTs, Paramedics among many Honored for Help in I-75 Tragedy


 
 

Chad Smith, STAFF WRITER | | Friday, April 13, 2012


There were more than 30 victims, 11 of them dead and 23 others who were hospitalized.

At a ceremony at the Shands Cancer Hospital on Thursday to honor members of the medical community who helped that day and in the days afterward, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said the interstate that morning “felt and looked and smelled like a warzone.”

“Their efforts were heroic amidst a horrific situation,” Darnell said of the doctors, nurses, paramedics and medical examiners who helped save lives and identify the deceased.

The sheriff is handing out some 375 certificates of appreciation to members of the various agencies who helped in any capacity that day — the Gainesville Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Transportation and Marion County Sheriff’s Office to name a few.

She honored members of her own department earlier this year.

Tim Goldfarb, the CEO of Shands HealthCare, praised his staff for being prepared for the unprecedented crashes that happened at about 4 a.m. on Jan. 29, when smoke from a wildfire and fog combined to virtually blind drivers entering the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park on I-75.

Some 20 vehicles were involved in crashes on both sides of the interstate before the FHP closed the highway.

I-75 had been shut down at about 3 a.m. but reopened some 30 minutes later when the smoke had cleared.

“It was a very smooth process from the perspective of providing response to the victims, the victims not only at the incident but those affected by the incident afterward,” Goldfarb said.

Dr. Michael Good, the dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine, called it a “response we can be proud of to a very tragic situation.”

Dr. Adrian Tyndall, the chairman of the UF department of emergency medicine and the medical director at the Shands emergency department, singled out the emergency room’s nurses.

“Without their help or assistance, we would not have been able to get any of this done,” Tyndall said.

Bruce Goldberger, a professor and director of toxicology in the department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine at the College of Medicine, and members of his team were left to sort out the dead.

There were “walking wounded” whose relatives were dead inside their vehicles.

The seven bodies on the northbound side of the interstate were intact, he said. The four dead on the southbound side had been burned in a fire from the crash.

“It was just like a war on both sides of the road,” Goldberger recalled.

The sheriff also recognized the United Way of North Central Florida for its work with victims’ families.

Debbie Mason, the president and CEO of the local United Way, said the organization has distributed about $65,000 in cash and in-kind donations to relatives of those killed.

“It’s a lot for folks to face while they’re grieving,” Mason said.



Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Gainesville Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Transportation, Marion County Sheriff’s Office

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Fire Breaks Out on New Jersey Hospital Roof

Four-alarms in Bayonne for roof top blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Shooting, EMS Audio

Edited audio from the Parliament Hill incident.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Illinois Ambulance Service on Chopping Block

Peoria Heights EMS depends on property tax vote.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Kentucky Firefighters, Medics Drill for Ebola

Lexington firefighters and medics prepare for possible patients.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Shooting Incident

Solider is shot by gunman at national memorial in Ottawa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Life Link III Trauma Tactics Conference in Minnesota

Conference was designed to enhance the skills of providers of all levels, covering rescue and prehospital situations, to transport and in-hospital treatment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

EMS Tailgating

Rigs converted for football.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >