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ll/H^r f no Cl Il THE BRUNSWICKftKACON PJ
I ML ivJ LI IvL oUl 1 - D
INSIDE THIS SECTION:
? TV Listings, 6-7
? Candidates, 10-11
STAFF PHOTOS BY SUSAN USHE*
INSTRUCTOR EDDIE BROWN shows trainees Michael Parks, a
county EMS employee, and Phil Gould, a Southport Volunteer
Rescue Squad member, an EMS station wagon recently equipped
for paramedic use. Portable equipment and medications for one ve
hicle cost between $16,000 and $20,000.
' Shootings, cuttings, wounds,
trauma?an intermediate can
take care of 99 percent of
those. Thats the reason the
ALS program was developed a
?Training Officer Eddie Brown
Pine 'Candles' And
Pollen: Some Things
Worth Sniffling Over
BY BILL FAVER
This is the time of year when we can see pollen settling on cars and
accumulating on porches and yard furniture. Dusts
of the yellow powder can he found floating on the
surface of meandering streams. The pines are one
of the biggest producers, along with vines and oaks
and almost all the plants we know. Those beautiful
pine "candles" are the new growth this spring and
are filled with pollen.
Last April I watched a mockingbird at the
beach and each time he landed on one of the new
"candles" on the pines a cloud of yellow powder
was set free in the air. I was reminded that the gen
tle breezes is one of the ways pollen gets from one
plant to another. Others, of course, are the bees, butterflies and moths,
hummingbirds, and other birds and insects who travel from flower to
flower and pollinate the plants.
Those of us who sneeze and wheeze during pollen season may not
fully appreciate the importance of pollen to the plant world. Without it
we would have no fruits and berries, flowers and trees. Much of our
woodlands would be bare without pollen. We would not have the birds
or the butterflies, for there would be nothing to attract them.
Scientists tell us they can date archaeological digs by analyzing the
pollen they unearth. They can tell what plants were present from the
pollen which has not changed over many years and this helps them es
timate the years before the site was covered.
Those long candles on the pines mean more than just interesting
new growth. They are vital to the life of the pine trees just as the pollen
from almost every plant and tree is needed to keep the Plants going.
Think about this as you wait for the rain to wash the pollen away and
maybe you can endure the sneezes and sniffles!
PHOTO BY Bill FAVt*
THE TALL "CANDLES " and new cones on the pine trees are
filled with pollen.
TRAINEE JEAN SOLA of Coaxtline Volunteer Rescue Squad checks James Smith 's blood pressure while on clinical rotation in The
Brunswick Hospital emergency room. The former radio disk jockey is excited about becoming a paramedic.
Training Is A
BY SUSAN USHER
Tell your family goodbye,
you'll see them in a year, and
hope they understand.
If Brunswick County's first group
of would-be paramedics didn't un
derstand the depth of the year-long
commitment they were making last
October in order to provide a higher
level of emergency medical care to
Brunswick County residents, they
do now. So do their families.
Trainees are well into the de
manding 592 hours of training?
290 hours of didactic classroom
lessons, plus 116 hours of "hospital
time" and another 180 "ride-along
hours" on emergency vehicles
across the region. Miss more than
29.2 hours of class and you're out.
"It's 12 months as hard as you can
go," says Eddie Brown, training of
ficer for Brunswick County Emer
gency Medical Services and lead in
structor for the county's first para
medic course. "The class is going
much better than we dreamed it
The group started with 50 stu
dents. By March 30, the number had
dwindled to 38. "We'll probably end
up with 25 for the final," Brown
Class meets Monday and Wed
nesday nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
at the Emergency Medical Services
building, and some weeks it meets
on Tuesdays as well. Students come
from across Brunswick County and
from outside its borders; when the
class started it was the only one
available in eastern North Carolina.
Eighteen are employees of Bruns
wick County EMS; most are volun
teers with local rescue squads and
emergency medical services.
They listen intently, taking notes,
highlighting a thick textbook, and in
some cases audiotaping lectures for
Beyond class, trainees schedule
clinical training time around work
and family obligations, traveling as
far as Cumberland, Moore and New
Hanover counties to ply their new
skills under the watchful eye of
trained paramedics on "ride-alongs"
or field internships.
"I feel like it is important enough
I ought to give it all I have got and 1
haven't done that," says Ellen
PARAMEDIC TRAINEES concentrate intently as Brown introduces their focus for the next four
months: how the human heart functions and what to do when it's in trouble, one of the most difficult
and interesting subjects they 'U study.
Dorsett of Southport Volunteer
Rescue Squad, an EMT-! and in
structor. Her own schedule has re
quired juggling teaching responsibil
ities with answering rescue calls.
"David (her husband) and I see each
other in passing."
Clinical hours are logged on rota
tions served in The Brunswick
Hospital and Dosher Memorial,
which are program sponsors, and
Cape Fear Memorial and New
Hanover Regional Medical Center in
Wilmington, supporting facilities.
Trainees spend time assisting in the
emergency room, intensive care/car
diac care units and the operating and
recovery rooms. Their education is
more in-depth, building on what
they've already learned. They gain
more experience in IV administra
tion and drug injection, as well as in
assessing patients and offering inter
vention based on those assessments,
and learn to exercise judgment in a
broader range of circumstances.
"I've been tickled with the sup
port we've received from the hospi
tals and from Brunswick
Community College," said Brown.
The course is being taught through
the college, which has invested
heavily in equipment and training
The students' goal is to complete
their classroom and practical train
ing as closely together as possible,
to be ready to take a rigorous state
examination offered in November
and then begin providing a higher
level of advanced life support start
ing sometime in January 1995.
Paramedic-level "quick response"
service is already being provided, on
a very limited basis. As part of this
training program EMS was ap
proved to equip one vehicle and to
begin offering quick response on a
limited basis, said Brown, who is a
certified paramedic as well as a reg
istered critical care nurse. Some
trainees have been able to work in
ride-along training with Brown in
Brunswick County as a result.
Brunswick County began offering
its first level of advanced life sup
port (ALS) last year, through inter
mediate-certified emergency med
ical technicians (EMT-Is).
"Shootings, cuttings, wounds,
trauma?an intermediate can take
care of 99 percent of those. That's
the reason the ALS program was de
veloped a year ago," said Brown.
An EMT-I is limited to use of IV
fluids, semi-automatic defibrillator
(a device used to help restore or
maintain the heart's normal rhythm)
and six "pharmaceuticals" or drugs.
They can open airways, "plug"
holes, provide fluids.
A certified paramedic is trained to
do more. They respond with broader
latitude under the agency physi
cian's "standing orders," or proto
cols that outline how to respond in
given situations. At the paramedic's
disposal are 42 medications.
"Cardiac and respiratory are the
two groups of patients paramedics
have the greatest impact on," said
Brown, and the two problems are
usually related. "The heart and res
piratory systems are so interrelated
that usually when you have a prob
lem with one you have a problem
with the other."
"We need paramedics here,"
Brown said, citing Brunswick
County's growing retirement com
munity and the overall aging of its
population and concurrent increase
in the types of cases in which a para
medic is needed.
Last calendar year, cardiac and
chest pain, cardiac arrest, respiratory
arrest and respiratory distress calls
accounted for more than 20 percent
of all incident calls to which local
EMS and rescue paid and volunteer
personnel responded, according to
data compiled by EMS staff member
Between Jan. 1 and March 15 of
this year those same types of calls
have so far accounted for nearly 16
percent of all calls.
How extensively paramedic-level
service will be provided next year
depends not only on when and how
many trainees obtain certification
but also on county funding.
EMS Director Doug l^edgett said
the department is seeking the addi
tional money in its budget to equip
four existing vehicles and to pur
chase and equip a fifth vehicle.
Brown said the cost ranges from
$16,000 to $20,000 per vehicle.
He expects at least four or five of
the county EMS employees will
have completed their clinical train
ing in time to take the state exam in
November, with results due back in
three weeks, in time to start Jan. 1.
"We're going to be ready to go
Jan. 1, even if we have to do it with
five people 24 hours a day," says