Student EMS Team Is a Lifesaver

Radford University’s Emergency Medical Services team (RUEMS) is on call 24/7 should someone need its help. Last week someone did, and now the team of student volunteers is being credited with helping to save a life.

EMS Captain Andrew Mudie said an emergency call went out at about 9 p.m. Jan. 18, saying a patient at a dialysis center on East Main Street was in cardiac arrest and unresponsive. RUEMS members Sarah Heishman, Clifford Goodson and Crew Chief Josh Moore were first to arrive on the scene, with Mudie joining them.

The center’s nurses were administering CPR, when the RU responders arrived. The students used their defibrillator to revive the patient—the team’s first such response to a “full code” call, Moore said.

RUEMS screw members

Pictured left to right are Radford University Emergency Medical Services (RUEMS) crew chief Josh Moore, RUEMS members Sarah Heishman and Clifford Goodson, and Radford University Police Lieutenant William Rutledge.

When Mudie arrived, Moore had already revived the patient. “I helped the city medics move the patient to the ambulance. Clifford and I then accompanied the patient from the dialysis center to the Carilion New River Valley Medical Center’s helipad,” Mudie said

The patient became more conscious during the trip, Mudie said. At the helipad, the RU crew helped transfer the patient onto a Lifeguard 11 medical evacuation craft for transfer to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

“It was great to see our crew work seamlessly with the city medics to help this patient and moreover to have the patient survive,” Mudie said.

RU alumnus Zach Beckner ’10 is a former EMS squad captain who now teaches CPR classes on and off campus. He learned of the dialysis center incident shortly after it happened.

"I am very proud of how the organization has progressed thus far with Captain Mudie,” Beckner said. “And I am very proud of the outcome of this call."

The RUEMS student team comprises nine men and eight women whose majors include social work, psychology, design, criminal justice and nursing. The all-volunteer crew works under an agreement with the city of Radford to act as a responder to off-campus emergencies within several blocks of campus. The student team has permission to treat and prepare patients for transport but cannot transport patients in the team vehicle.

RUEMS is a student club operated under the auspices of the Radford University Police Department. Lieutenant William Rutledge is the university’s liaison to the EMS and is directly responsible for the management and support of the crew. RUEMS answers about 350 calls a year, he said.

"These students get nothing for what they do, and few people know the types of calls they run into sometimes," Rutledge said last week. "They see things that most college students their age have never seen. They also do almost everything on their own. We should all be proud of the team."

Jan 24, 2012
Bonnie Erickson