Extraordinary bonds forged in moments of crisis
5 heartwarming reunions reflecting the profound impact medics have on the patients they save
With quick thinking, skillful actions and unwavering dedication, paramedics and EMTS provide a lifeline to individuals facing life-threatening emergencies. All too often, after delivering your patients to the ED, you’re called right back into service, and may never know the fate of your previous patient.
Other times, you form deep and enduring connections with the patients you rescue. These connections can manifest in extraordinary reunions that encapsulate the power of human compassion and the resilience of the human spirit.
This year’s EMS Week theme celebrates where emergency care begins. Take a moment to celebrate with us where, hopefully, emergency care ends – with a positive outcome and a life saved.
In this article, we delve into a series of heartwarming reunions between paramedics and the patients they have saved. Each reunion is a testament to the profound impact that these providers have on the lives they touch.
These stories offer a glimpse into the extraordinary bond formed in moments of crisis.
1. In-flight transfusions, automated CPR and a strong tail-wind aid in a “career maker”
DILWORTH, Minn. — Mitchell Amundson nearly died after losing four liters of blood in a Fall hunting accident. Paramedics, a pilot, nurses and physicians in both Jamestown and Fargo, North Dakota, helped save his life, including three members of Sanford AirMed.
The flight crew, made up of Ross Miller, Caleb Behm and Daniel Dudeck, spent most of the harrowing flight to Sanford’s Level I Trauma Center in Fargo giving him multiple transfusions. But as they arrived in Fargo, Mitchell went into cardiac arrest. The crew used automated CPR to keep his heart pumping.
Luckily, a 30-mph tailwind helped get Amundson to the hospital in time. “It was a game changer,” said Dudeck, the pilot. “And I would actually say a lifesaver.”
Amundson recently reunited with the flight crew. “It’s huge to come back and even see the emotion in their eyes and just the happiness and sheer joy,” Amundson told Sanford Health. “That it’s not all bad endings for everyone.”
“We don’t get to see them walking, talking. We’re very grateful that we got this opportunity to see him today and I’m glad that he’s able to be here with us,” said Behm. “It’s a career maker.”
2. Pittsburgh paramedics save newlywed who arrested as soon as they arrived on scene
PITTSBURGH — Allegheny Health Network recently facilitated an event known as The Great Save, in which 22 first responders were recognized for their service.
Mark Devore, who suffered a heart attack on Jan. 15 in a rural area, was one of the survivors in attendance to reunite with the medics who saved his life.
Devore’s wife called 911 after he started to experience chest pain. Josh Shick, a paramedic supervisor for Clarion EMS, told YourErie.com that he and his partner knew what they were looking at as soon as they walked into Devore’s home – even before they put him on the monitor, and the second they did is when he went into arrest.
“I just keep remembering him saying even before, ‘I just got married! Please help me I just got married,’ and that’s the only thing I could think of this entire time was, ‘awe we’ve just got to let him see his wife again before anything else happens,’” Shick recalled.
Fifteen minutes later, they had stabilized Devore, who was thrilled to reunite with his heroes.
3. Atlanta paramedic crew save victim in deadly active shooter incident
ATLANTA — In August of 2022, the City of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department responded to a deadly active shooter event with multiple victims. The Paramedic Engine 23 crew quickly located two victims with gunshot wounds, one with life-threatening injuries. They provided extensive care, ultimately saving the life of Michael Horne.
4. Ill. paramedics defibrillate, intubate Navy veteran before regaining a pulse
ROCKFORD, Ill. — Mark Pohl left a Mendota parade where he was marching for the VFW early when he began to feel ill. He has no idea he was about to suffer a critical heart attack known as a widow maker.
Paramedics defibrillated Pohl twice, intubated him and administered multiple cardiac drugs before regaining a pulse at his residence.
Pohl, a 57-year-old Navy veteran, survived due to a quick response from paramedics and the care of the team at OSF HealthCare.
Pohl and his wife, Melody, recently reunited with the team who rescued him.
“It’s very emotional,” Pohl told the Rock River Current. “It’s totally amazing to see all these people come together now that I’m upright.”
5. L.A. responders attain ROSC in underground parking lot
Los Angeles City firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to a patient in a car parked inside an underground apartment garage, complaining of tingling in his arm. They arrived to find Anthony Taranto with cool, pale, sweaty skin and performed a detailed 12-lead EKG, which indicated a STEMI. As they began preparing to treat and transport Taranto, he went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics defibrillated Taranto twice before attaining ROSC, and he was defibrillated once more at the ED at UCLA Medical Center.
Taranto recently reunited with the responders who saved his life at Fire Station 62 to say thank you.
These reunions remind us that beyond the medical expertise and technical skills lies a powerful connection built on trust, empathy and the shared experience of a life-altering moment.