DOBSON — John Shelton believess he has the best EMS personnel in the state, and a strong showing at a state competition seems to validate that claim.
On Tuesday Surry County EMS sent three teams of paramedics to Greensboro for a state EMS competition, according to Shelton, EMS director. The teams had qualified in regional competitions and were required to qualify in a region other the one in which they serve.
All three pairs finished in the top six, with one emerging victorious from the field of 43 teams from throughout the state.
Shelton said critical care paramedics Jose Butron and Josh LeCrone unseated reigning champions Roger Horton and Barry McMillian, one of the county’s AirCare paramedic teams. Surry County critical care paramedics Kenneth Vaught and Dale Harold were also among the six teams of finalists at the competition.
Shelton said the competition evaluates medics on their response to an actual situation with which they could be faced in the field.
“They always have to treat multiple patients,” explained Shelton. “It’s really an impressive environment.”
Shelton said a real-life situation is staged in the convention center. In 2015 a helicopter crash was simulated, complete with a crashed helicopter on the convention center’s floor.
“They have to go in, access the situation and treat the patients,” said Shelton. “They have to stabilize patients and perform one or more full resucitations.”
Shelton said the 2016 competition featured a domestic situation gone badly. Contenders for the title were required to resuscitate an infant and the infant’s mother while stabilizing a man with gunshot wounds in different rooms of a home on the floor of the venue.
He said all of Surry County’s teams performed flawlessly, though Butron and LeCrone finished at the head of the pack.
Shelton said the reasons for Surry County’s top finishes in the competition from year to year are obvious to him.
“We train them hard,” explained Shelton. “We also have an excellent medical support system in the local hospitals and area trauma centers, and our medical direction couldn’t be any better.”
However, in the end the credit must go to the paramedics serving Surry County.
“They work hard to be the best they can be at what they do,” noted the EMS director.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.