Dispatchers and volunteer firefighters recover life-saving equipment in the snow, saving a patient’s life in minutes

MASON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A medical emergency complicated by severe winter weather on Sunday night became a matter of minutes for a man who relies on a heart device to keep him alive.

EMTs attempted to get the man to Columbus, Ohio but were unable to due to treacherous road conditions. Quick thinking from an emergency responder, volunteer firefighters and sheriff’s deputies saved the man’s life.

According to the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department, it took a coordinated effort from all parties involved to obtain batteries for an external pump known as a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). The victim had just 11 minutes of battery power left when first responders were able to get spare batteries for the emergency crew, who had to be diverted to Pleasant Valley Hospital in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, due to weather conditions.

“These men and women of the JVFD continue to impress. They do everything to help people in need,” the organization posted on social media.

Deputies from the Kanawha and Mason County Sheriff’s Departments were also involved in the lifesaving effort.

An LVAD implanted in the chest helps pump blood from the left ventricle of the heart to the rest of the body.

Tiffany Franklin, director of Mason County 911, said the entire effort to get new batteries for the device was a miracle, and said an extra dispatcher was on duty that night — which isn’t the case most nights may be.

“He’s really risen in a lot of roles aside from just dispatching and doing his job as an assistant director,” Franklin said. “He and Alan Miles both stepped into their roles and took the burden off my plate as I was dealing with a family member who had a massive stroke this week.”

She said she was grateful to them – as was undoubtedly the patient whose life was saved.

WSAZ’s Tori Yorgey is following this developing story. Check the WSAZ app regularly for the latest information.

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