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Teen gives awards to Clements firefighters, EMTs who saved his life

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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:41 am, Wed Jul 25, 2012.

Jake Pott, 18, doesn't remember anything about June 16. But the paramedics, firefighters, flight nurses responsible for his rescue remember every second of the minutes ticking by when they got a call that Pott was in critical condition.

Their hard work and speedy response times are the reason the Galt High School graduate was able to meet them at the Clements Firehouse on Tuesday.

The emergency response teams enjoyed a dinner and ceremony at the firehouse, along with Pott and his family.

"This is something we really enjoy around here. We'd like to do it all the time," said Fire Chief Dave Ingrum of the event.

Each responder received a "Field Save" pin, indicating their role in a rescue call in which the person survived at least 24 hours. Pott did so well post rescue that he will be attending Butte College in a few weeks to join their baseball team.

"Thank you to all the people here who contributed to saving my life," said Potts to his rescuers. "Thank you, guys."

From the beginning, however, things weren't looking good.

Pott was hanging out with friends on the Mokelumne River off of North Mackville Road. He was trying to do a flip off of a rope swing, misjudged his jump, and landed in the cold river. The paramedics believe the transition from the summer heat to the chilly water sent his body into shock, then cardiac arrest.

A friend pulled out a cellphone to call 911.

Larry Lubner, 21, a friend of Pott's from Galt High, pulled Pott out of the river and tried to keep him alert while help was on the way.

Members of the Clements Fire Department were first to arrive and take charge. Terry Rainier, Rob Hoag, Aron Shrut and Mike Taormina took Pott's vitals to find the young man didn't have a pulse and wasn't breathing.

Later, emergency personnel estimated Pott was clinically dead for three to seven minutes.

The Clements Fire team began to help Pott breathe with assisted ventilation.

Emergency medical technician Dave Hamric and paramedic George McKelvey arrived next.

They checked Pott's heart and found some activity, but not enough to keep a pulse moving steadily.

The team set up an automatic external defibrillator and shocked Pott once. It was enough to give him back a pulse and let him breathe on his own.

He was then transported by ambulance to Clements Firehouse, and from there to a REACH helicopter that took the still unconscious Pott to UC Davis Medical Center.

Only 22 minutes had passed from the time of the call to the chopper taking off for UC Davis.

By that time his parents had been notified and were waiting at the hospital.

Shawn and Lisa MacDonald watched in panic as the helicopter landed with their son inside. They knew nothing of his condition, but Shawn MacDonald did his best to comfort his wife.

"Thank you for not making a liar out of me when I told her he was going to be OK," said an emotional Shawn MacDonald to the rescuers on Tuesday.

Potts would remain in the hospital for 26 days. Seventeen days passed before he was coherent enough to ask where he was.

"I almost thought it wasn't real. It was like a dream; I don't know how to explain it," he said.

Today he is back to running and getting in shape to work with the Butte College Roadrunners baseball team. Pott wears a heart-monitoring device and will find out on July 30 whether he has to have surgery to put in an internal defibrillator.

The rope swing and its branch have since been removed from the river.

Several emergency workers commented how smoothly the call went, and thanked Clements Fire for their swift actions.

"Without what you do every day, we couldn't do what we do every day," said Lynette Hemphill, a REACH flight nurse.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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1 comment:

  • Sara Louise posted at 8:13 am on Wed, Jul 25, 2012.

    cupcake209 Posts: 1

    I was there that day, it was a scary situation.. I was one of the girls that helped do CPR till help arrived, I am glad to hear he is better..

     

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