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Surgical extraction available in 2016

BLAIR, Okla._First responders who are called to accidents where a person may be pinned inside a car, or trapped in farming equipment, may soon have new, life-saving resources. 

For the last three years, a group of local surgeons have been working to put together a surgical extraction team that would be available to perform an on-scene amputation that may save someone's life.

Monday, with the help of the Blair Volunteer Fire Department, local EMS, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and one of the surgeons from Duncan conducted a mock amputee accident.

When our 7News team arrived Monday afternoon, they had the scene already staged with a dummy driver that was pinned in a car, something similar to a head-on crash.

Then, OHP responded to the accident as they would any other. Once they assessed the situation, that's when they called in fire and EMS.

When the emergency responders arrived on scene they worked to stabilize the patient and do their best to get him out of the car.

"We get them close enough to extraction, but we wait, because if we go any further, he may lose his life,” Blair Fire Chief Jeremy Rodriguez said.

At this point, EMS has determined that the patient's leg will have to be amputated for them to be able to free him.

So they call the medical emergency response center, who will notify the surgeon and an air-evac helicopter.

"The air craft will rendezvous with the surgeon, typically at that surgeon's hospital. For me today, it was out of Duncan, and then they'll lift that surgeon to the scene," Dr. Che Miller said.

Once on scene Dr. Che Miller said EMS has done pretty much all they can, so it's just a matter of him getting into the car, and getting the leg amputated.

"Most of these patients are losing blood. It's really important to get them to a trauma center quickly. Without the support of the trauma center, they can't sustain life. So often times, these patients don't survive," Dr. Miller said.

The patient then would fly with the surgeon to the nearest level one trauma center, like OU medical.

The skills practiced Monday, may also be useful in other scenarios.

"A lot of our industry has to do around farming and industrial type things and you never know if somebody might get caught in machinery at a cotton gin or on a farm," Trooper Jimmy Wallace said.

And Dr. Miller said it's that high level of risk that resulted in several accidents where the pinned-victims life could have been saved. So he saw the need for a surgical extraction team, and he jumped at the opportunity.

"It’s a privilege and an opportunity to be able to go in and change the course of what you expect to happen, into something that might actually save a life," Dr. Miller said.

Dr. Miller said, for now, only three surgeons in our region are participating in the program. He expects more to be on board in the next few months. Each works on a volunteer basis, so the patients aren't charged any extra for having the doctor come to them.

Dr. Miller also said they hope to have the surgical extraction team responding to patients by January of next year.

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