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Paramedic of the Year

Lawton_When you see an air evacuation helicopter coming, it usually is a sign that someone is in trouble, and it means they will get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.  Lawton's Air Evac team is so good at their job that team member and paramedic Eddie Hart received the 2008 Paramedic of the Year award for this region. 

Hart says that receiving the award is an incredible feeling since he was nominated by his co-workers.  He says they're a team, and working together makes each of them the best of the best in their field.  But, it isn't the only honor he has received.  "I've got my thousand flights," he said.  "I got that about the same time so I've transported about a thousand patients with Air Evac."

Hart says that recognition is nice, but he excels at his job because he loves it.  "When you get there, sometimes it's either the person's not that injured, or they're extremely injured, you know?  So your adrenaline gets going a little more when you see the injury and exactly what all you have to do," he said.  "So yes, it's a very exciting job."

In 2007, a car crash on I-44 was so bad that the ambulance was unable to get through.  But, Air Evac could.  "I don't really care for landing on the highways, to be honest," said Hart.  "There's all those cars - you hear about people getting hit all the time, not paying attention out there," he said.  "So, I'd rather land on a pasture and walk to the highway!"  At the crash in 2007, the team was able to airlift the victim to the trauma center in Oklahoma City twice as fast as an ambulance could.

Hart says it's difficult to continue treating a patient in a cramped space, so sometimes they must relearn how to accomplish life-saving tasks.  "We kind of have to learn how to do IVs differently, sometimes you have to do the IV backwards toward you instead of in front of the patient," he said.  "The field's a lot smaller, and you have a few more skills and medicines you're not used to."

 The team covers a 70-mile radius in the area, and though their services are reserved for the worst, or most difficult trauma emergencies, Hart says they are actually dispatched an average of once per day.

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