Eddie Forrester thought maybe his ticket had been punched.
“I thought maybe it was my time,” the Hurricane Mills resident said. “If it hadn’t been for the right people in the right place at the right time…”
Eddie was digging a pond on November 11 when his dozer became stuck. He grabbed a shovel and started to dig around the tracks. That’s when the chest pain hit. His friend, John, went to Eddie’s truck and dialed 911.
“I walked up to my truck to meet him and I got very dizzy,” Eddie said.
John drove Eddie’s truck and AMR Humphreys County met them on Highway 230.
Mark Pierce, program director for the Waverly Air Evac base, said the paramedics determined Eddie needed to be flown and activated Air Evac Lifeteam. While en route to the landing zone, Eddie went into cardiac arrest. He was defibrillated, resuscitated and diverted to Three Rivers Hospital Emergency Department. The staff at Three Rivers quickly stabilized him, and the Air Evac crew of flight nurse Aylessa Baker, flight paramedic Cody McMahan and pilot Jeff Templeton< transferred Eddie to St. Thomas West in Nashville where he was taken to the Cath Lab upon arrival.
“I had a 99 percent blockage and a 75 percent blockage, and they sucked four different clots out of me and put in two stints,” Eddie said. “I’m back at home, and everything played out just right. If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”
Shawn Bradford, director of AMR Humphreys County, agreed.
“None of this could have happened if any link of this chain was missing,” he said. “We are proud of the relationship we have with Air Evac and Three Rivers, and we’re always looking to improve. Eddie’s is just one case out of many that showcases that great relationship. We all wear different shirts, but at the end of the day the goal is the same – to save lives.”
Humphreys County 911 Director Bobby Brown said his dispatchers have the red phone – a direct line to the Air Evac Lifeteam Communications Center.
“That makes things a lot easier,” he said. “If the paramedics even think they might need an aircraft, we’ll call and check the status of Air Evac. With us living in a rural community like we do, getting someone to Nashville by the quickest means possible makes a big difference.”
Humphreys County 911, AMR Humphreys County, Three Rivers Hospital and Air Evac Lifeteam, along with Eddie’s friend, John, all worked together on November 11 to save a life. It’s something that happens quite often. Freda Russell, CEO/CNO of Three Rivers Hospital, said the agencies that worked together to save Eddie’s life work together every day.
“It makes all of our jobs a lot easier, having that trust and level of communication with each other,” she said.
It doesn’t just “happen.” It takes each person doing his or her job, communicating well and trusting that everyone involved has the patient’s best interest at heart.
“I’m very lucky that everyone was there and everything worked,” Eddie said.
Eddie is also relieved that he and his wife are Air Evac members. The couple’s children purchased a membership for them several years ago. That membership meant whatever portion of the Air Evac flight Eddie’s insurance covered was considered payment in full.
“It’s a good thing,” Eddie said of the Air Evac membership. “You just never know when you might need it, and it provides good peace of mind.”