DiversityNursing Blog

FireFighter Marries Boston Bombing Survivor He Rescued 

Posted by Pat Magrath

Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 03:54 PM

03xp-bostonsurvivor_we4-master768.jpgIt’s Friday and we thought a feel good story was a good idea. We’d like to share the happy news that a Boston marathon bombing survivor is going to marry the firefighter who took care of her that life-changing and devastating day. He kept coming back to visit her in the hospital. Their friendship and love grew as they got to know each other.

Because a Nurses job is to help people whether it’s caring for their patients, doing research to improve patient care, or educating our future Nurses, a firefighter’s job is to help their community too. Both professions selflessly help people in a variety of situations, some extremely difficult.

As a website devoted to Nurses within Diverse communities, we see many similarities within the 2 professions and we hope you enjoy this story.

When Roseann Sdoia was gravely injured in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, Michael Materia, a firefighter, was the responder who took her to the hospital. They were strangers at the time, but he has rarely left her side since.

In December, the two decided to get married. And on Wednesday, they took on an entirely different kind of challenge together: walking up the 1,576 steps to the observation deck of the Empire State Building in Manhattan to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation — an organization that has played a major role in Ms. Sdoia’s recovery.

Just as he had on the day they first crossed paths, Firefighter Materia wore all of his firefighting equipment, including a heavy oxygen tank on his back. She wore a prosthesis, which has replaced the leg she lost on the day of the bombing.

The day they met was among the darkest in Boston’s modern history. After two bombs were detonated on April 15, 2013, smoke billowed across the finish line and the scene erupted into chaos.

Hundreds of people were injured on that Monday, and three people lost their lives. Had it not been for Firefighter Materia, it might have been four.

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Ms. Sdoia’s right leg was severely injured in the explosion. A bystander rushed over and fashioned a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Firefighter Materia, responding with his fire brigade, was put in charge of escorting Ms. Sdoia to the hospital. With no ambulance immediately available, she found herself lying on a metal bench in the back of a police transport vehicle.

Despite her injury, Ms. Sdoia was fully alert as they drove toward the hospital. “He was kneeling on the ground, trying to hold me from sliding, trying to hold himself, and trying to hold the tourniquet,” she said. “And then here I am, telling him to hold my hand! So the poor guy had a lot going on.”

Firefighter Materia stuck with her until they reached the hospital, where Ms. Sdoia’s right leg had to be amputated above the knee. He visited again a few days later to offer assistance, and then again the day after that.

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After a couple of months, a friendship between the two bloomed into a romance. “There was an interest growing in each other, kind of quietly, until we talked about it,” Ms. Sdoia said.

Firefighter Materia popped the question on Dec. 4 during a trip to Nantucket. They intend to marry in October or November, according to The New York Post, which reported on the couple this week.

But before they get married, Ms. Sdoia, 48, and Firefighter Materia, 37, decided to take on New York City. On Wednesday evening, Mr. Materia pulled on his fire equipment while Ms. Sdoia explained her strategy for the climb: Go slow and steady, and lead with the left leg.

The couple were among hundreds of runners who made the arduous climb on Wednesday for an annual event called the Empire State Building Run-Up, which is in its 40th year and benefits the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

For months, Ms. Sdoia trained on the steps of Bunker Hill Monument, a towering obelisk just north of Boston commemorating the Battle of Bunker Hill, among the defining moments in the Revolutionary War.

The event at the Empire State Building was a fitting milestone in Ms. Sdoia’s own battle. Along with Firefighter Materia, the lifelong Red Sox fan has become something of a hero for Boston, where friends and family have followed her recovery, celebrated her engagement, and supported her efforts to climb New York City’s third-highest building.

The race ended at the observation deck on the 86th floor of the skyscraper, where Ms. Sdoia smiled and stopped to chat with photographers in the chill winter air while Firefighter Materia, camera-shy, stayed mostly quiet under his firefighter’s helmet.

Ms. Sdoia said she was happy to have his support, which hasn’t wavered since that ride to the hospital nearly four years ago. “We’ve spent a lot of time together,’’ she said, “and from that we got to see each other’s characters and really just bond.”

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Topics: first responders, Boston Marathon bombings

Replacing An Ambulance With A Station Wagon

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 08, 2014 @ 12:01 PM

By ERIC WHITNEY

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When a fire department gets a call for medical help, most of them scramble both an ambulance and a fully staffed fire truck. But that's way more than most people need, according to Rick Lewis, chief of emergency medical services at South Metro Fire Rescue Authority in the Denver suburbs.

"It's not the prairie and the Old West anymore, where you have to be missing a limb to go to the hospital," Lewis says, "Now it's a sore throat or one day of cold or flu season sometimes, and that can be frustrating for people, I know it is."

South Metro receives more than 12,000 emergency medical calls a year, and takes about 7,000 patients to area hospitals. Somebody who's been running a fever for a couple of days may need help — just not necessarily a ride to the ER. That disconnect can be frustrating for both ambulance crews and patients.

Crews aren't required to transport everyone who calls, but Lewis says they fear lawsuits if they were to leave and a patient got worse. Also, ambulance companies typically don't get paid unless they take somebody to the hospital. So Lewis teamed up with Mark Prather, an emergency room doctor, to try and come up with a better way.

"We created a mobile care unit that can go to a given patient, if we think they're safe to treat on scene, and provide definitive on-scene treatment," says Prather.

The mobile care unit is, basically, a station wagon. Advance practice paramedic Eric Bleeker shows off some of the gear. "This one is a suture set, so it has everything for wound closure, from staples to regular sutures," he says.

Ambulances don't have that kind of equipment, so even someone who just needs a few stitches gets a ride to the emergency department.

Several cities across the country are using paramedics as physician extenders, sending ambulance crews to do routine things like hospital follow-up visits in places where basic health care is hard to get. South Metro's model focuses on responding to calls. The team always includes at least one nurse practitioner, who can prescribe basic medicines that they stock in the mobile unit.

"A lot of what we do is sort of that mid-level between the acute care you receive in an emergency department and what the paramedics can currently do," says Bleeker.

It's kind of like an urgent care clinic on wheels.

There's also a miniature medical lab. "We can run full blood chemistry, we can do complete blood counts, we can check for strep throat, we can check for influenza," he says. Those are capabilities that even many doctors' offices don't have on site.

South Metro Fire also relies heavily on Colorado's new electronic medical records network. The nurse or EMT can call up patient records on the scene to provide care that's more like an office visit, and dispatchers can check recent medical histories to make sure they send ambulances to people who might really need one.

That person who called 911 because they were running a fever could end up being diagnosed and treated in their living room by South Metro's station wagon for about $500, instead of spending a lot more for similar care at an emergency room.

Insurance companies don't yet pay for this, though, says Prather.

"That's maybe why nobody has done it yet," he says, laughing.

For the last nine months South Metro has been running the service basically for free, to prove that it saves money. But Prather thinks that's about to change because of Obamacare. The law aims to get insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid to stop paying for too much medical care. And it can penalize health care providers who contribute to overuse of emergency rooms.

"It allowed us to think about payment differently, and basically switch from a volume situation to a quality situation," he says.

But it's not like the law just flips a switch and starts paying for appropriate care instead of rewarding providers who see a high number of patients and do lots of procedures. The change to reward efficient, appropriate health care is just starting to happen. Slowly. But Prather is now in talks with insurers and hopes to be getting paid soon.

Source: http://www.npr.org

Topics: emergency, first responders, ambulance, wagon, EMS, health care, medical

Number of 9/11-related cancer cases is growing

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Aug 04, 2014 @ 04:41 PM

By Jen Christensen

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Cancer is plaguing a growing number of first responders and rescuers who worked at ground zero after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. These are cancers the federal government says are thought to be directly related to that effort -- cancers like leukemia, myeloma, thyroid and prostate cancers.

There are at least 1,646 certified cancer cases that have been documented by Mount Sinai Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health. There are some additional 863 cancer cases among both fire and EMS personnel, according to FDNY, which keeps a separate database for its members.

That's a total of 2,509 cases. The center has screened more than 37,000 World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers since 2002. It will continue to monitor those workers and volunteers for any new cases.

Some reports suggest the number of cancer cases in this group has doubled since last year. While that may be mathematically true, cancer experts caution that we can't draw any significant conclusions from the increase.

"For every decade of life, if you look at a population ... cancer rates go up the older you are," said Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical and scientific officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society. "Looking at an increase from one year to the next is a nonscientific way of making an assessment that is incredibly biased to find a link between the activity and the cancer."

To be scientifically accurate, Brawley said someone would have to look at all the cancer records for the people in the 9/11 group and compare them to a group that had the same age makeup, same gender, and other demographic data. There would also have to be a significant portion of firefighters in that sample, because as a profession they tend to have higher cancer rates than the general population, Brawley said.

A deep scientific analysis of available medical data through 2010 showed a 20% increase in the rate of cancer cases for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers when compared to the general population, according to Mount Sinai.

Government reports suggest workers at the World Trade Center were exposed to a number of chemicals that were known to be carcinogens, or agents that may cause cancer.

Many people who worked at the site are struggling with devastating cancers they may not otherwise have had, had they not responded to the tragedy. That much is clear, according to the U.S. government, which set up a special World Trade Center Health Program.

The program provides medical monitoring and treatment services for 9/11 responders and survivors. Nearly 65,000 people are enrolled. Enrollees are qualified to get health care treatment through several reputable medical centers that keep experts on staff who are qualified to treat and identify illnesses related to the terrorist attacks. The program plans to continue to monitor those workers.

"I think all of us are open to the possibility that these brave folks were exposed to things that caused further illness," Brawley said. "What's most important is that someone has cancer and needs help and we should continue to provide them with the good care they truly deserve."

Source: www.cnn.com

Topics: 9/11, first responders, rescuers, ground zero, cancer

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