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First responders recognized for saving the lives of two Moore County men

When someone dials 9-1-1 in Moore County, sometimes the results are heart breaking and life changing and sometimes, based on the hard work or local first responders, you get “good outcomes.” This is the story of two of those times.

Mark Shavers and his wife, Diane, pose with the first responders who helped save his life at a recent Metro Council meeting. (Lynchburg Times Photo)

From no pulse, not breathing to back at home and back to work

In May, EMA Director Jason Deal sat in his office working with the scanner chattering in the background as usual when a page with a familiar address went out. The caller said his dad wasn’t breathing and wouldn’t wake up.

“I immediately recognized the address, so I decided to grab my keys and just head that way,” Director Deal said.

When he arrived, he found Mark Shavers sitting in his recliner — no pulse and not breathing. Instinctively, Director Deal grabbed the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) from his vehicle, used it to shock Shavers heart back into rhythm, and started CPR.

Three minutes later, Metro EMS and Metro Sheriff’s Department officials arrived on the scene. After several minutes of CPR, Shavers pulse returned and he stabilized enough for transport. Metro Moore County Volunteer Fire Department members cleared and secured a landing zone and Shavers was transported via air ambulance to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Upon arrival there, Vandy staff immediately transferred Shavers to the Cath Lab where he receive life saving treatment. Thanks to the quick work of Moore County first responders, Shavers made a full recovery. Today, he’s back in his Lois home with his wife and resuming his normal life.

In a recent Metro Council meeting, EMS Director Deal and Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis recognized local first responders for a Great Outcomes recognition in the Shavers case including: Hunter Case, Richard Medley, and Dwight Sullenger from Metro EMS; Jerrod Bradford and Austin McGee from Metro Sheriff’s Department; Mark Neal, Don Primus, and Jerry Dickey from the Metro Fire Department; and Forrest Bryan and Neal Glasgow from Metro Dispatch; as well as Judy Dreaddy and Landon Pupka from Vandy LifeFlight.

Gary Tipps survived a widow-maker heart attack thanks to the quick actions of Moore County first responders including his wife, Diane. Here he poses with that team that helped save his life at a recent Metro Council meeting. (Lynchburg Times Photo)

From a widow-maker to a full recovery

On the morning of August 20, Jack Daniel employee Clint Fanning was running late for work. Regardless, as he drove up Tanyard Hill, he noticed a man laying in his yard lifeless. His gut told him something just wasn’t right and he immediately called EMA Director Jason Deal’s personal cell phone. The two are friends from church.

“I answered the phone on my way into the high school to teach an Emergency Medical Responder class,” Director Deal says. “I assumed it would be something quick, something related to church.”

He was wrong and he could hear the panic in Fanning’s voice. When Fanning described the house, Director Deal knew exactly whose home it was. One, it’s the only house directly on Tanyard Hill Road as you drive up it from the square and two, one of the corrections officiers at the Moore County Jail, Diane Tipps, lives there.

Deals says he immediately called Diane to see if she knew what might be going on. She said she didn’t but she would try to call her husband. By the time she called back saying she wasn’t able to get Gary by phone, Deal already had Metro EMS, and Sheriff Tyler Hatfield on their way.

“When I arrived, Sherriff Hatfield was already on scene and actively doing CPR,” Deal says. “We immediately alerted Vanderbilt, got LifeFlight en route, and contacted the Metro Fire Department to set up a landing zone for the chopper.”

After performing CPR continuously, the team finally achieved spontaneous circulation again. Now stable, EMS loaded Tipps onto LifeFlight. When he arrived at Vandy, staff immediately transferred him to the Cath Lab, where they performed a surgery to install a stent. Everyone would later learn that Tipps survived what medical professional call a widow-maker heart attack or a massive heart attack that occurs when the left anterior descending artery (LAD) is completely blocked.

Thanks to the quick thinking and quick work of Moore County first responders, Tipps has made a full recovery.

In this case, EMS Director Deal and Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis recognized local first responders for a Great Outcomes recognition including: citizens Clint Fanning and former sheriff’s deputy Robin Holt; Jackie Burton, Hunter Case, Callie Couch from Metro EMS; John LaCook, Don and Nancy Primus, and Scott Parks from the Moore County Fire Department; Sheriff Hatfield, Shane Taylor, and Dustin White from the Metro Sheriff’s Department; Robert Mathis and Jean Adkins from Metro Dispatch; as well as Judy Dreaddy and Sarah Sellers from Vandy LifeFlight.

Deal attributes to Public Safety Department

“These outcomes come from a wonderful team of responders working together to achieve one goal: to save a life and make a difference,” said Director Deal. “A few seconds too soon or a few seconds too late and we could have had a totally different outcome.”

Deal says he attributes the “good outcomes” to changes made over the past two years to the Public Safety plan like developing an on call program to help assist during high call volumes times for critical patients like Shavers and Tipps.

“This allows for more than one paramedic to respond to critical calls or to have a crew respond to a call when the primary unit is tied up on another call,” explained Director Deal.

Metro Dispatchers are now also trained in CPR, so they can give lifesaving medical advice over the phone to the caller prior to the EMS unit arriving on scene. In fact, all first responders train two to four hours each month on best practices, new guidelines, as well as passing competency checks.

Director Deal says starting in January, Metro Sheriff’s Department will begin Emergency Medical Responder Training, which will allow them to provide lifesaving help prior to EMS arrival if needed. Their area of concentration of training will be on the ABCs of getting a patient back: airway, breathing, and circulation. 

“There is no way any one of us can do it alone,” Director Deal stated. “So, with all the changes we’ve made in the last two years, this is the outcome of those changes.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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