SPECIAL REPORT: Life Saving Calls

SPECIAL REPORT: Life Saving Calls

TYLER (KYTX) - When you call 9-1-1 with a medical emergency, it's a group of dispatchers that answers the phone. Few people know what goes into their complicated jobs.  
CBS 19's Courtney Friedman went behind the scenes and brings us real life saving stories from real dispatchers.  

It's the voice giving you reassurance when your world is crumbling.  They're the lifesaving instructions that help you keep going when panic is all you feel. These are the people who dedicate themselves to taking your emergency calls, your cries for help.
"EMS this is Jessica what's the address of the emergency?"
Jessica Stanley has been an EMS dispatcher since November. From 6 p.m. all through the night until 6 a.m., she takes calls for any medical emergency, ranging from a bad stomach ache, to a heart attack.  
"One of my first ones by myself was a cardiac arrest and that's nothing you can prepare yourself for," she says.
When someone calls in, Stanley has been trained to ask a series of scripted questions, listed on a program called Pro QA.  
"I type it in, it pulls right up and we just read off the script," Stanley explains. 
It seems easy, but the job is tough when the caller is panicking on the line. Just a month ago, Stanley took what she says is the most memorable call so far. She helped a man deliver a baby over the phone.
"My wife is having a baby. I think the baby's coming out!" you hear him yell in the recorded call.
"How many weeks pregnant is she?" Stanley asks calmly.

"38 Weeks."
"Okay sir I'm sending the paramedics to help you. Stay on the line and I'll tell you exactly what to do next," Stanley says. She begins reading off the Pro QA script: "As the baby delivers support the head and shoulders and hold its hips and legs firmly. Remember the baby will be slippery. Don't drop it."
As she gives instructions, she hears the panicked soon-to-be father on the other side of the line: "Push hard honey to get the baby out! Push hard. There you go honey! The baby's coming out!"
"Okay is the baby crying or breathing?" Stanley asks.

"He's coming out! He's breathing! He's breathing!" she hears. 
She then reads the next scripted set of instructions from the screen in front of her: "Be sure the cord is not wrapped around the baby's neck. Be sure to keep the baby and the mother warm."

"Okay I'll do that. I'm doing it right now," the caller says, relieved. "Honey you did it! Honey you did it."
"I mean he probably won't remember me and that's okay," Stanley says. "We're behind the scenes so much, but I was able to help him deliver his own child which is fun, because you could hear his excitement on the phone."
The experience is something Stanley will never forget, but as soon as that call ended, it was onto another emergency.  
Even though the call center Stanley works at is in the city of Tyler, dispatchers are not just taking calls in Tyler. In fact they're taking calls from 17 counties across the entire state of Texas. 
"I've taken calls from Houston, Trinity County, to Carthage, to Waco, West areas, to Terrell, Forney, Mt Pleasant, it's pretty far range," says dispatcher Laura Jewell.

She works the same shift as Stanley.
"It's pretty insane," she says. "12 hours on 12 hours off."
Even though she has a family, she says the crazy job is worth it.  
"It sticks with you after a while."
She knows how important her job is. She's had to make an emergency call for a family member before.  
"I've been on the other side of that call. And you're very very thankful for the people on the other side, that they're there to help you," Jewell says.
Flash back to a month ago, and she was talking loved ones through a Lindale man's cardiac arrest.  
"Is he breathing?" Jewell asks the patient's wife over the phone.

"No," she says through sobs. "He stopped breathing!"
"Okay and listen carefully," Jewell instructed the patient's best friend who was also there with him and his wife.

 "I'm going to tell you how to do chest compressions. Just place the heel of your hand on the breast bone on the center of the chest right between the nipples. Okay and put your other hand on top of that hand. I'm going to have you pump the chest hard and fast at least twice per second and two inches deep.
We're going to do this 600 times or until help can take over. I want you to count out loud so I can count with you okay?"

"Yup we got it going," the friend said.

"One, two, three, four, one two three four," Jewell counted out loud with the man and helped him continue for about 20 minutes until the paramedics got there. 
"Not all cardiac arrests turn out that great unfortunately," Jewell says. "Thankfully the caller was calm. He was willing to help as best as he could and it's not that case in every situation, and you definitely don't get that outcome in every situation so it was pretty great."
Not all the patients make it, and some days are emotionally exhausting.
"I had one bad call," Stanley remembers. "Everyone gets them, but I had to actually step out of the call center because I could not get myself together."
Regardless, nothing will stop either of these women from going to work every day.
"I can't imagine another job. Where else would you get that sense of gratification, from helping people?" Jewell says.
From behind the scenes in a dark room, they're helping people survive, one life saving call at a time.  
The dispatchers say if you're ever the person who has to make one of these emergency calls, remember, every question the dispatcher asks you has a purpose, and will help get the paramedics to you faster.  Each dispatcher goes through months of training, both in the classroom, and on the call floor with a supervisor. 


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