First-year PA student awarded EMS Person of the Year

January 9, 2024 • SHP News

Zach HarmonBy the time Zach Harmon and his team of paramedics arrived at a crash scene on Interstate 20 in Weatherford, Texas, the man they’d been deployed to help was already unconscious. He was breathing just six times a minute with a dangerously low heart rate. The truck driver was pinned inside the cabin of his tractor-trailer rig — a jumble of twisted metal and broken glass by the time Harmon pulled up. The man’s leg had been amputated in the crash; and the crew quickly learned their patient’s lungs had also collapsed.

“The first thing we saw was the mangled truck,” said Harmon, first-year physician assistant studies student at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Health Professions. “The first thing that we thought was that we had to get access to him somehow so that we could start care because we knew it was going to be a prolonged extrication due to the type of vehicle it was and how damaged it was.”

That late-afternoon call on Valentine’s Day last year earned Harmon and the three other members of his team the Texas Department of State Health Services EMS Person of the Year award. The four paramedics were honored during the 2023 Texas EMS Conference in November.

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