Hart gains three new paramedics
In case you ever find yourself in an emergency situation where you need an ambulance, there are three new nationally certified paramedics at Hart County EMS to step in and do what needs to be done.
Ronald Dutton, Sommer Dutton and Shalimar Crowe have recently received their national certifications as full-fledged paramedics, and the road to get to where they are today was not an easy one.
Ronald Dutton has been an emergency medical technician (EMT) since 1999 but decided to go to paramedic school a few years ago. For him, that entailed 15 months of rigorous training and over 600 hours of clinical experience at emergency rooms, intensive care units and other EMS services.
For Ronald Dutton, a Hart County native, being able to take care of the people of his community is the ultimate goal.
“I was born and raised in Hart County,” Ronald Dutton said. “This is where I live, this is where I’ll die and these are the people that I’ll take care of, the people in this county. That’s my plan.”
Sommer Dutton is Ronald Dutton’s daughter, and the apple obviously doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“I was raised around it, and it’s something I really enjoy doing,” said Sommer Dutton. “I love taking care of people.”
According to Ronald Dutton, being a paramedic versus being an EMT is very different.
“It’s an advanced level of care,” he said. “EMTs are limited on what they can do for people as far as administer different types of drugs and stuff like that. A paramedic has a more advanced level of care as far as the airway and administering drugs.”
Ronald Dutton began his career by teaching CPR classes. His love for the field grew from there in the form of consistent certifications until he became the paramedic he is today.
“Once I started I was hooked,” he said. “It’s the greatest job I’ve ever had in my life.”
Sommer Dutton started out with a slightly different plan before deciding on paramedicine.
“I was initially going for my nursing (certification),” she said. “And I got him (Ronald Dutton) talked into it because he didn’t want me to do it at first.”
Now, Ronald Dutton couldn’t be more on board with his daughter’s dream.
“I’m as proud as I can be,” he said. “It’s a great thing that she did.”
Paramedic school is no walk in the park. The mental and physical demands are grueling but absolutely worth it for these three new paramedics.
For Crowe (who is also a registered athletic trainer), it’s something she’s dreamed of since she was a little girl.
“There was something always in me, even from a little kid, when I saw an ambulance go by. It just grabs you,” added Crowe. “This broadens my horizon. It’s neat to see how we can work together.”
Crowe and Sommer Dutton went to paramedic school at the same time. Unlike Ronald’s 15 months, their training was condensed into only 12 months (plus 600 hours of clinicals), so it was even more rigorous.
“That year of paramedic school is a year they had to put everything in life (on hold) to do that,” said Brian Evans, supervising paramedic. “We work day in and day out with these three new paramedics and watched them from EMT to paramedic and went through their struggles of learning this paramedicine. They are going to be a great asset to the citizens of Hart County and they should be proud to have them.”
Far from being simply ambulance drivers (as they are referred to all too often), paramedics perform a lot of tasks that are done in the emergency room. In fact, they actually teach doctors and nurses basic and advanced life support.
Two of the very few tasks that can’t be performed in the ambulance are x-rays and blood work. Otherwise, it’s easily referred to as a mobile emergency room, and the paramedics are your lifeline.
With the difficulty surrounding obtaining the coveted national certification, it’s no wonder their coworkers and superiors are beaming with pride for how far the three have come.
“I’m just proud of them,” said Randall Graham, assistant director for Hart County EMS/paramedic services. “They jumped right in, learned the ins and outs and they’ve worked hard enough to know this is something they want to do for the rest of their lives. I’m proud of all three of them. They’ve had a long journey, because that paramedic school is hard.”