QA’s video shows EMS re­sponse to an over­dose

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­

CENTREVILLE — A few mem­bers of the Queen Anne’s County Depart­ment of Emergency Ser­vices EMS Di­vi­sion D-Shift were fea­tured in a video for the lat­est lip sync chal­lenge.

Queen Anne’s County ded­i­cated Septem­ber to sub­stance abuse aware­ness and the “Go­ing Pur­ple” ini­tia­tive. The video de­picts an over­dose and re­sponse by EMS.

While not graphic, the video brings to light the amount of re­sponse a non-breath­ing pa­tient gets in Queen Anne’s County. A para­medic am­bu­lance, BLS am­bu­lance, en­gine com­pany and EMS duty of­fi­cer brings a min­i­mum of eight peo­ple to the pa­tient, said DES As­sis­tant Chief Scott Wheat­ley.

This re­sponse is of­ten a com­bi­na­tion of Queen Anne’s County vol­un­teer and ca­reer de­part­ments, Wheat­ley said, adding, “We are blessed the sys­tem works so well to­gether and we all stand and func­tion to­gether as one.”

The pop­u­lar song, “Don’t Let Me Down” re­leased in 2016 by The Chainsmok­ers was se­lected by the group af­ter con­sid­er­ing a few dif­fer­ent songs as the words re­in­forced the point of view of the vic­tim, as well as the providers, when fac­ing death, Wheat­ley said.

Lt. Debi Hopkins por­trays an over­dose vic­tim who, af­ter re­ceiv­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion of nalox­one (the med­i­ca­tion car­ried by first re­spon­ders to re­vive over­dose vic­tims), be­comes un­re­spon­sive and ul­ti­mately re­quires full life­sav­ing mea­sures. Paramedics Kel­ley Payne, Michael Mc­Cart­ney and Melissa Free­man and EMT’s An­drew Hen­kle and Casey Amos play them­selves.

Be­hind the scenes were Com­mu­nity Emergency Re­sponse Team co­or­di­na­tor Joe Ci­chocki, who served as di­rec­tor of the video, and the “ever-amaz­ing” Queen Anne’s County Television crew, said Wheat­ley.

“Crash­ing, hit a wall, Right now I need a mir­a­cle ... Stranded reach­ing out” are the song’s open­ing lyrics. A re­frain that aptly seems like a vic­tim’s cry for help, while the song re­it­er­ates, “I need you right now. So, don’t let me down”.

The im­pact these emergency re­sponse calls has on an EMS provider is sig­nif­i­cant, Wheat­ley said. “The brain func­tions as a file cabi­net. The mem­o­ries of calls get filed away one af­ter an­other. At any point, the file cabi­net can open a file and that mem­ory of a child, adult, young, or old dy­ing in front of you comes back around. The point of this is we have to take care of each other and our­selves in this field.”

Wheat­ley ex­pressed his con­cern for providers who of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence the phys­i­cal and emo­tional toll from over­doses.

“Everyone has their own way of blow­ing off stress and steam, but it is a real con­cern that the con­tin­ued ef­fects of death and dy­ing plays a real role in our providers’ health and safety,” he said.

“If one life is saved, touched, or pub­lic aware­ness is spread,” Wheat­ley said, “then the goal (of this video out­reach) has been met. In ad­di­tion, a lot of the pub­lic never in­ter­act or see EMS or the fire depart­ment un­til the ‘worst day of their lives.’ By see­ing the videos that the depart­ment will con­tinue to pub­lish hope­fully the pub­lic will un­der­stand the ex­tent of the role the Depart­ment of Emergency Ser­vices has.”

To watch the video, go to star­, visit QAC-TV on the web or fol­low the link https://­a9Y.


A video by Queen Anne’s County Depart­ment of Emergency Ser­vices takes a closer look at the re­sponse from EMS to an over­dose vic­tim.

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