Deputies hailed for medical assistance – Silvercity Daily Press

Deputies hailed medical assistance
(Press staff photo by Jo Lutz)
The Grant County Sheriff’s Department recently commended Deputy Aaron Ordonez for his response to an emergency medical call in which he was driving an ambulance. MP Trevor Jensen, who was also recognized, could not be reached for comment.

Sheriff’s deputies Trevor Jensen and Aaron Ordonez were commended at last week’s Grant County Commission meeting for going above and beyond during a particularly difficult negotiation.
The call involved an unusual amount of medical assistance, including Ordonez driving an ambulance, something he had only done once in his eight-year career with the department. However, offering medical care is not an insignificant part of law enforcement duties, and officials say the department is taking initiatives to reflect that need.
According to a police report, around 12:15 a.m. Nov. 3, a 911 caller in Arena Valley reported an unresponsive man found on her property. She said she had just sold her house and told the 44-year-old that if he could get the steel off her property, he could have it, according to what she later told Ordonez.
According to the report, the woman went into a shed on the property to get some buckets and when she returned, she found the man hanging from the door jamb of her truck, and she said she thought he was having a seizure. He fell to the ground, where she tried to administer CPR before and while calling 911. She said he was unresponsive and had no pulse.
The EMTs arrived first, followed by Ordonez, who immediately called Jensen to help.
“We needed another facility to help with CPR,” Ordonez said. “At that time it was just me and an older gentleman doing CPR while the paramedics tried to intubate.”
Ordonez explained that although the older gentleman was an experienced EMT, CPR is very physically demanding, even for the strongest responder. Ordonez, Jensen and responding medical personnel took turns in two positions, one performing chest compressions, the other draining fluid from the man’s mouth while pushing an air bag into his lungs.
Other interventions included Narcan and epinephrine, used to treat opioid overdose and allergic reactions, respectively. The patient did not respond to either.
After speaking with a doctor at Gila Regional Medical Center, the team was asked to take the man to the hospital.
Knowing that all hands were needed to continue CPR, Ordonez jumped into the driver’s seat of the ambulance while Jensen followed in his police vehicle.
Ordonez knew what to do this time, he said, because he had been in a similar situation years ago when he was brand new.
“Then the paramedic in the back said to slow down,” Ordonez recalled. “An ambulance is not like any old car – there’s a big box of people in the back.”
With that hard-won wisdom and years of experience, Ordonez said, while he considered his load, his focus was on the road.
“Hazard lights are harder to see during the day,” he explained. “Even though the lights and sirens are on, many people have their radios on and don’t pay attention to their rear-view mirrors.”
Ordonez pulled up to Gila Regional Medical Center’s emergency room and immediately jumped back in to help free his group, who were performing CPR duties. He accompanied the gurney to the emergency room, where the nurses and doctors took over.
After more than 45 minutes of CPR, physically exhausted and short of breath, Ordonez said he immediately returned to work. Jensen was there to take him back to his vehicle in Arena Valley.
While it doesn’t happen often, Sheriff Frank Gomez said it’s not unheard of for law enforcement to run an ambulance. Officers often respond with medical assistance, and in acute cases, the driver, who is usually also EMS, is required to assist the patient.
“In the county, most emergencies are EMS,” Gomez said. “But if [a case] is severe… Dispatch, based on protocol, makes the decision whether to call an officer.”
Ordonez said basic CPR training is required for all law enforcement officers in New Mexico. He estimates that about 35-40 percent of the calls he responds to require some sort of medical response from him, most commonly CPR.
“It’s just so we can free up some hands,” he said. “Everyone on the scene is ready to help where needed.”
Deputies are also trained to perform other basic treatments, such as bandages and tourniquets, which are included in the trauma packs now carried by every officer.
“Four or five months ago, we bought trauma bags,” Gomez said. Gila Regional “EMS Director Eloy Medina conducted the training.”
Ordoñez said the department is also looking into offering basic EMT training. He said that while he would be interested — and could help in more situations — if he had more training, it wouldn’t have affected the Nov. 3 call.
As for the accolade, Ordonez said it was his first in eight years.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” he said. “But with this kind of work, you do a lot of good things, and you’re not always going to get recognized.”
And when he first got the call to come to the county commission meeting the day before to receive the award, Ordonez said he had no idea who it was for.
Because Lutz can be reached at [email protected]

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