Jerry Hatcher and Cory Hall

Jerry Hatcher (left) and Cory Hall attempt to remove a tree that’s blocking the ambulance’s way

Congratulations to the South Georgia Grady EMS team for their dedication and determination during Hurricane Michael. Thanks to their efforts, life-saving care continued despite the many obstacles they had to overcome. Here are a few examples:

The storm had barely passed through the area when the Grady EMS/Phoebe Putney Hospital NICU transport team got the call that a baby, delivered at just 27 weeks, needed to be picked up from a hospital more than 50 miles away. Knowing how intense the storm had been, the team knew they would face downed trees and other obstacles. So Grady NICU transport EMT Jerry Hatcher asked EMS mechanic Cory Hall to come along. The two packed a chainsaw and used it multiple times to cut up trees blocking their route from Albany to Blakely. They got close to their destination, but reached a point where the ambulance could not travel any farther. The Grady/Phoebe team then set out on foot, walking about two miles before being picked up by a Good Samaritan who drove them the rest of the way to the hospital. There, they found the baby in good condition and arranged for transport to Columbus.

Getting around was next to impossible in much of South Georgia, many people found they were trapped in their neighborhoods by trees downed by Michael’s winds.  That was the case for Decatur County EMS Supervisor Nadine Brown. She was scheduled to be at work at 8 a.m. the morning after the hurricane hit, but the street she lived on was completely blocked. So Nadine, her husband and her brother got out their chainsaws and cleared the road. Nadine got to work at 2 p.m. and provided much needed relief.

Then there was the case where kindness, not medical care, was the most urgent need. Just a few days after the storm, Decatur County EMS team Jessica Givens and Bryan Cox responded to a call from a couple who had recently moved to the area from New Jersey. There wasn’t a medical emergency, but there was a serious problem – an older couple, with no food or water and no idea how they were going to manage.  The team reassured them that things would be fine. Then, according to Jessica, Bryan took action to make sure that happened. He gathered a case of water, a case of juice, fruit and some hot meals. He and Jessica delivered the items, much to the surprise of the older man, who was so grateful he broke down in tears.