BARTOW, Fla. -- Polk County Fire Rescue celebrated Trauma Awareness Day on July 25 with a reception that reunited Fire Rescue staff with patients whose lives they helped save. The ceremony gave staff a chance to celebrate the progress of trauma survivors, and renew relationships with the patients.
The reception, held at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, offered a unique time for patients, emergency medical personnel and hospital staff toshow appreciation for the ways they have touched each other’s lives.
“We often wonder about the outcome of our patients and Trauma Awareness Day gives us a glimpse back into their lives,” said Paramedic Marco Gonzalez. “It is so rewarding to see our patients recovering and the progress they have made.”
Gonzalez and EMTs Brandon Newell and Sharon Heim responded to a call on Sept. 2, 2011 that stated an officer had been injured. While investigating a domestic disturbance at 413 Diamond Ridge Drive in Auburndale, Auburndale Police Officer Stacy West knocked on the door. Before West ever had the opportunity to enter the home, the assailant fired 20 shots from his SKS High Powered Assault Rifle.
At the reception, twenty-Six year old West gave a frank description of her injuries and status of her recovery. “He managed to hit me two times,” she said.
One struck her right forearm, severing both arteries and rendering it useless. The second went straight through her lower abdomen piercing heracetabulum (hip) and throwing her to the ground. The impact of the fall caused the hole in her acetabulum to break down to her femur.
“That round was excruciating,” said West.
She said the EMS providers took action quickly. “They did a great job. They were very brave. They didn’t wait for the scene to be secure which I believe is their protocol,” she said. “They went in and got me out.”
The day also recognized the vital roles so many different people play in responding to trauma incidents – from EMTs and paramedics to respiratory therapists and doctors, each one plays an integral role in saving a trauma victim. While patients can never prepare themselves for the shock of a trauma situation, Polk County Fire Rescue personnel are specially trained for to react quickly and appropriately.