Exceptional Lifesaver Awards presented at Mehlville Fire meeting

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

Several Mehlville Fire Protection District first responders received awards Dec. 1 for exceptional service.

The Exceptional Lifesaver Award presented by the East Central Regional EMS Committee was given to two MFPD EMS teams who saved patients with atypical or unique circumstances.

The first situation occurred Dec. 23, 2020 when Critical Care Paramedic Chris Ekiss and Firefighter Paramedic Kory Snelson responded to a call about a fallen elderly female. Upon arrival the paramedics found agonal breathing and no palpable pulse. Shortly after calling for an ambulance, the patient flatlined, forcing the paramedics to perform CPR on and off again until backup arrived.

Once the ambulance arrived, the patient’s heart rate was stabilized and she was transported to the hospital. 

“As a result of the efforts of the responding crew, the patient was discharged from the hospital neurologically intact,” Shannon Watson, secretary of the EMS Committee, said. 

Ekiss, Snelson, Dennis Maag, Joe Vaccaro, Pat Chisholm and Battalion Chief Adam Hagar received honors for this situation.

The second situation occurred on June 5, 2020 when three teams responded to a call about an unconscious person. The teams found an unconscious man outside his apartment with CPR being performed by a St. Louis County police officer. The teams successfully resuscitated the patient through defibrillation and airway management. Watson said the patient was diagnosed with a heart attack and discharged from the hospital shortly after.

On Sept. 18, 2020 units were dispatched to the residence once again for a cardiac arrest. The patient’s wife said she saw the patient enter cardiac arrest in front of her and called 911 and began CPR. The patient was successfully resuscitated again and was able to attend the Dec. 1 ceremony.

Captain Mike Juengling; Paramedic Firefighters Tyler Robinson, Tina Mecey, Alex Noguera and Ryan Russell; Critical Care Paramedics Kailey Pillman and Mitch Swaringam; Battalion Chief Brian Gebert and Hagar received honors for their efforts.