On Thursday May 31st at the annual Amen Corner/ Pittsburgh metro fools dinner medics from Ross/west view ems were recognized for their actions while on duty. Megan Lenz, Rob Druga, Francis Feld, Ron Coleman received the "squad 51 award" for saving a person that was trapped underneath a car. Talo Capuzzi received the "now that's something you don't see everyday" award. Talo received it for successfully talking a jumper off of a bridge.
On the above date, crews from Ross/West View EMSA responded to a jumper on an interstate overpass. False calls involving jumpers occur fairly regularly in EMS, and there was no reason to believe this day would be any different. When Supervisor Garing and Medic Capuzzi arrived on scene, it was clear that this was not a false call. The patient was clinging to the outside of a chain link fence in the center of the bridge. Immediately, Talo began speaking to the patient. He was visibly nervous but maintained his cool when he found himself in the position to prevent a tragedy. He quickly gained the confidence of the patient by speaking calmly and engaging himself in the events that led the patient to come to the bridge. After speaking for a few moments, a trust was developed. Talo was able to grip the patient’s fingers through the fence and remained that way for approximately 33 minutes.
While Talo talked to the patient high on the overpass, public safety personnel prepared for the rescue. Conveniently, a medic unit was returning from a local hospital on the interstate at the time of the incident. They shut down the roadway until police could get into proper position. The patient may have survived the fall, but would not have survived it with oncoming traffic. In the first few moments of the incident, the crew attempted to fashion a belt out of rope and feed it through the fencing to secure the patient. The patient did not respond well to this and threatened to jump if further attempts were made. Rescue 40 then prepared to perform a rope rescue; again the patient resisted. Finally, after Talo used his words to successfully talk the patient through the crisis, Rescue 40, PBF truck 32, and 247 truck were able to safely remove the patient from the overpass.
I am nominating Talo Capuzzi for the award of “Now that’s something that you don’t see everyday “award. Without question or prompting he approached the pt and began the rescue….verbally. In a rescue-oriented service like RWVEMS, it is out of the ordinary for someone to use words alone to affect a situation like this. However, because Talo is blessed with the gift of gab, he was able to talk his patient into wanting to be rescued, and essentially, wanting to live. Talo truly went above and beyond the call of duty. For a brief moment in an otherwise chaotic day, Talo could hold his head high knowing he saved a life.
Megan Lenz, Rob Druga, Francis Feld, Ron Colemans story-
While working his regularly scheduled 24 hour shift, Ron was faced with a difficult challenge. Ross/West View EMSA was notified of a person trapped under a car in their first due area. Ron responded in the rescue alone, as no other units were immediately available. Ross PD arrived on the scene first and confirmed the dispatch. Upon arrival of the rescue, a bystander had placed the vehicle into park already. Ron further secured the vehicle by placing the E-brake on, removing the keys, chocking the wheels, and placing step chocks under the A & C posts. Up until this point, Ron was the only trained rescuer on the scene, and the medic unit was still enroute from a distance. He found himself surrounded by police officers and a 249 firefighter who were willing to help, but unsure of what to do. He began to gather equipment and formulate a plan. First, Ron found an officer by the name of Pete Chuberko and asked him to place a Hi-Lift jack under the A post. Coincidentally, Pete uses these to work on his vehicles, so there was no need to explain their operation. Ron placed another jack on the opposite side and ran a chain between them. He then focused on quickly teaching the other officers how to build a box crib to support the vehicle while he and Pete lifted. The lift went smoothly aside from a few minor hiccups. Finally, the incoming medic unit arrived on scene. The EMS crew took over in supporting the vehicle and also took some of the workload off of Ron’s shoulders. Once the vehicle was high enough, a floor jack was employed to stabilize the vehicle further. Paramedic Druga was able to get under the car and pull the patient out. The patient had numerous traumatic injuries and was transported to a level 1 trauma facility. Health professional Feld arrived on the scene and assisted Medic Lenz with the care of the critically injured pt. The total extrication time was a notable nine minutes.
Ron and his crew are being nominated for the “Squad 51”award for his quick thinking, excellent use of resources, and efficiency. Despite having limited personnel, they managed to complete all objectives and achieve the desired outcome in an impressive amount of time. Thier ability to recognize others’ strengths and teach untrained personnel to perform tasks quickly and successfully was truly remarkable and deserves recognition.
R/WV Medics-Druga, Lenz, Feld