COTTON COUNTY, OK (RNN Texoma) -A group of first responders in several counties across the area were able to save a man's life after his semi-truck overturned in Cotton County.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the driver was driving east on U.S. 70, about two miles west of State Highway 65 in Cotton County. The driver missed a curve and his truck went over a bridge. A Survival Flight helicopter was called to the scene, but after learning the driver was trapped a surgeon from Duncan Regional Hospital flew in through Air Evac to help free the driver.
Today was a first for first responders in the Surgical Extraction Team Program which started back in 2013. They've been training ever since, and even got called out to a few incidents, but never had to help anyone. Today was different, they were able to provide immediate and definitive care to man that was trapped. They said it wouldn't have been possible without the help of paramedics, fire fighters, troopers, and workers from The Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
"Our goal is to extract people without an amputation or without surgery if possible, but we're prepared to do whatever it takes to save their life so they get to spend more years with their family," said Dr. Miller.
For the past five years General and Vascular Surgeon at Duncan Region Hospital Doctor Che Miller has been working with the Medical Emergency Response Center, and several other agencies to get the Surgical Extraction Team Program started.
"The program is designed to save the life first. There are times when we have to sacrifice a limb to save the life and we're prepared to do that. But we really spend a lot of time training ways to get somebody out without that amputation," said Dr. Miller.
Today they were very fortunate and were able to save the driver's limbs, but it wasn't easy an easy process.
"It was a little intimidating at the time. With some great work from some of the teams we were able to evaluate his leg. Basically, his left leg was trapped under the steering wheel and he was submerged in water up to about his waist. If we hadn't been able to slide him out without having to amputate a limb, we would've figured out a way to get him out one way or another," said Dr. Miller.
Dr. Miller said being called out to emergency situations doesn't cost the patient anything.
"Everything's donated The surgeon's time, the air ambulance time, the jet fuel, the paramedics, everybody donates the service So the patients don't get charged for our work," said Dr. Miller.
Dr. Miller adds today was a team effort between so many first responders, and local agencies.
"I was so proud to be a part of that team and watch a successful outcome, and we wished this gentleman a the best, his recovery process," said Dr. Miller.
The driver was taken to a hospital in Wichita Falls in stable condition. OHP has not released his name.