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Windham Colleagues Save a Life – From the Driveway

July 21, 2022

The Windham Hospital Emergency Department is well stocked and ready for any emergency that comes through the doors. But a recent event also underscored that they are equally ready for any emergency that pulls into the driveway.

At around 5 p.m. on June 28, paramedic Corey Curtis-Gray saw through a window in the paramedic office that a car pulled up just outside the ED, several people got out and all were screaming for help. He ran outside and pulled an elderly woman from the car. She was unconscious, not breathing, and turning blue.

Her tracheostomy tube had fallen out of her throat at their home. She had triggered her life alert device, but her daughter arrived at the house before an ambulance did, and so the family put her in the car and drove to the hospital.

“You would be surprised how many do that,” said Paul Pedchencko, EMS program coordinator at Windham Hospital. “Either they just panic, or they are worried about how much an ambulance might cost, so they drive here themselves.”

Other ED staff converged on the scene outside the doors, including Mark Dziedzic, MD, who was on duty that day, and nurse Pam Purcell. Together Dziedzic and Curtis-Gray reinserted the spare tracheostomy tube that the family had with them and ventilated her with a bag valve mask.

“By the time they got her inside, she was conscious, breathing, talking and all pinked up,” said Jillian Nickerson, RN, nurse manager for the ED.

“This is what we do and this is why we are the best ED team,” Nickerson said. “The collaboration with our medics, respiratory, PCTs and nurses as well as the providers caring for this woman in our parking lot is why this job is incredible.”