Park Police Chief Salvatore Lauro presented the United States Park Police Lifesaving Award to an Aviation Paramedic.
On November 15 2008, Aviation Rescue Technician Officer Timothy Ryan aboard Helicopter Eagle 1 responded to a two car crash involving serious injury. This crash was on the Baltimore Washington Parkway at Beaverdam Road.
Officer Ryan was directed to one of the two ambulances to render assistance to a patient with an injury described as an “isolated arm injury.”
Officer Ryan instantly realized that his patient might be suffering from two collapsed lungs that were filling with blood. He upgraded the status of his patient to Priority One – the most serious classification - indicating injuries that are immediately life-threatening.
Officer Ryan inserted a needle into the patient’s chest cavity to relieve internal pressure on the lungs. Almost immediately, the patient’s oxygen levels rose and the patient stated that he had far less difficulty breathing.
Listening to the patient’s lungs, Officer Ryan confirmed the presence of breath sounds which had been absent prior to the decompression. This procedure, needle decompression thoracostomy, is rarely performed in the field, let alone in the stressful chaotic environment of a vehicle crash on a highway.
Officer Ryan looked beyond obvious injuries, and identified and effectively treated the condition that could have had dire consequences for the patient.