WAVES paramedics credited with saving life of Camillus man

— Local paramedics are being lauded for saving a Camillus man’s life last week in an unordinary turn of events.

The 71-year-old man came in for a routine medical test at Medical Center West when he had a sudden, and severe, allergic reaction to the IV dye during an MRI, said Daniel Taylor, spokesman for Western Area Volunteer Emergency Services. The man was having a severe reaction to the dye, pushing him into cardiac arrest.

“When the crew arrived, the patient was in the MRI suite, and CPR was being performed by staff,” Taylor said.

What made the case unusual, Taylor said, were the multiple facets of the patient’s health -- he was in cardiac arrest, in severe anaphylactic shock, and having difficulty breathing from gum that had become lodged in his throat.

“The call itself was an everyday thing,” said team leader and first responding paramedic Jeff Elwood. “But to have it change as drastically as it did is a little different.”

To add to the crew’s difficulty in assisting the patient, he was in the MRI suite, which meant WAVES’ metal stretcher wasn’t able to go into the suite.

The four paramedics from two ambulances worked together to help stabilize the man who needed quick and critical care.

The patient was taken to Community General Hospital, and later transferred to Upstate University Hospital for about a day in the Intensive Care Unit.

A day later, he was released from the hospital, with no lasting brain or organ damage.

“He had gone from his heart not beating to walking out of the hospital,” Taylor said.

“He went home, and I’m glad for that,” Elwood said.

Doctors from both hospitals are applauding the work of WAVES paramedics for efficiently assisting the man in a unique call.

"I would like to commend the EMTs, who not only made a great diagnosis and treatment, but also perfectly communicated to me exactly what happened in the pre-hospital arena,” said Dr. A. James Ciaccio, chief of emergency medicine at Community General.

A Camillus Police officer, as well as firefighters from Camillus and Fairmount, also responded to the scene to assist.

“The bottom line is it was really great teamwork,” said paramedic Jason Casanova.

Other paramedics responding included Glen Randall and Don Krick.

WAVES plans on having a short ceremony to recognize the work of the four paramedics next month.

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