Editor's note: The following is the second half of the second story on emergency responders in Young County.
“The Golden Hour,” the magic term that emergency responders refer to as the ideal window to get a victim of trauma to a hospital, is a bit of a misnomer in today's data driven age of specialized medical care, said Young County EMT Kowa Crow.
“It used to be that you have to get the patient to the appropriate facility in under an hour. Their life was better if you succeeded in that time frame,” said Crow. “Basically, we can do everything in the back of the ambulance that we can do in the ER now. That wasn't the case in the early days. Now you have stroke facilities, you have cardiac facilities and they all have their own time frames.”
There is a different ideal window for nearly every severe medical condition or affliction.
To EMTs, the Golden Hour may now be an antiquated idea. But the ultimate goal, the motivation one achieves out of the golden hour mantra and the choreography of so many procedures in emergency response all lie in the same idea and are grounded in one fundamental truth. Everything they do is governed by a very real need to shave seconds off of response times whenever and however possible.
“You've got to think that anybody that does have a stroke, or is having a heart attack or something major, that getting them to the appropriate facility as fast as you can improves their overall outcome,” said Crow. “That's what the golden hour was, to improve their overall outcome, to get them to the doctor as soon as you can and get things starting to fix.”
In Graham, EMTs work in shifts of two. Every day there are two paramedics on duty and another two on call, four for every minute of every day. They work 24 hours on call, 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off. Rinse, wash and repeat. No weekends or holidays, just days on and days off, said Hudson, a 29-year veteran, adding that most of the EMTs in Graham are from the area.
“After many years of doing this it kind of adds up, you know,” Hudson related. “The older I get the more tender hearted I am. Sometimes it's really hard to deal with, but we've all learned how to do it. The satisfaction we get from it is, you know, we're doing the best that we can for the patient and giving them every chance to survive and to come back and live a happy, healthy life. That's the reward we get.”
Read the entire story in Saturday's Graham Leader.