Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children presented Grundy EMS, Paramedic Melissa Hoosier, and AEMT Jessica Gilliam with the Star of Life award during the TEMS banquet in Nashville on May 4. Grundy Ems was nominated for the award for their exceptional service after a vehicle collided with a train, ejecting the driver.
On August 9, 2016, Tia Garner was on a camping trip with her family in Sherwood. She had driven to her father’s house, a resident of Sherwood, to leave her children for a visit. As she was returning to the campsite, she crossed a railroad crossing where her vehicle and the evening train collided.
Franklin Consolidated Communications, the county’s emergency dispatch center, received the 911 call regarding the accident, a train versus vehicle collision with ejection of the vehicle driver. Grundy EMS Paramedic Nick Harris and AEMT Jessica Gilliam were dispatched and responded to the scene.
Upon EMS arrival to scene, Crow Creek Volunteer Fire Department, EMS responders, and Melissa Scissom Hoosier, an off duty Grundy EMS Paramedic and resident of Sherwood, were on scene and assessing the patient. Sergeant Charles Stines of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and the Emergency Management Agency Director, Scott Smith responded as well.
Tia, 23, was ejected approximately 60 feet from her vehicle on impact. The vehicle was struck on the passenger side but the entire vehicle acquired significant damage and intrusion. The impact resulted in the Ford Escape being airborne and rolling before landing on its side.
EMS crews found Tia lying in the prone position. She could open her eyes on command but was confused. EMS suspected a head injury due to altered mental status and bruising and swelling around both orbits. She displayed abnormal respirations, had absent breath sounds bilaterally in her lower lobes, and said she could not breathe. She had a rigid abdomen on the left side and obvious right radius/ulna fracture.
Following their assessment and spinal immobilization, Tia was transferred to the ambulance. The crew reassessed her condition and performed effective interventions. Due to suspected pneumothorax, bilateral needle decompression was performed. After further evaluation and assessment of the patient, Rapid Sequence Induction was initiated, desired effects were obtained, and she was intubated. A splint was applied to her right upper extremity for stabilization.
Air transport was requested and responded, landing on scene. Tia was then air-lifted to Erlanger Trauma Center.
Tia was in the hospital for over six weeks. She remained on life support for three weeks. Respiratory complications lead to a tracheotomy and tube placement, followed by multiple surgeries to repair her many fractures.
Tia continues to do physical rehabilitation therapy for her right arm and has overcome many obstacle throughout her recovery.
Grundy EMS was honored for the Star of Life award by the following:
“This exceptional group of hardworking people know the importance of unity, community, and working together in a rural area with limited resources.
“The organization by reliable dispatchers, the dedication of an off-duty medic and volunteer emergency services, combined with the commitment, knowledge, and skills of two emergency medical teams provided a rapid response to a near-fatal accident.
“In the midst of commotion, the unity and diligence of all agencies involved contributed to the wonderful outcome for this young lady.”
The EMS Star of Life Awards are designed to honor exceptional EMS personnel from each of Tennessee’s eight EMS regions, recognize Tennessee’s emergency medical services systems and organizations, and reunite EMS providers with the person treated and highlight the actual patient scenario.