It was a night of celebration and acknowledgement of jobs very well done at the annual Oregon Emergency Medical Services Conference and Awards Banquet held in September in Bend, as two members of the Wallowa Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services team were honored at the conference, sponsored by the Oregon Health Authority.
EMS Director Tim Peck was named “Administrator of the Year” for his “focus on ensuring that the remote, rural patient has access to critical care transport and transfer services,” according to the official citation from the Oregon Health Authority.
Peck has been on the cutting edge of technology and practices to improve care for patients before they arrive at the hospital. Peck spearheaded a project to equip Wallowa Memorial Hospital’s ambulances with advanced ventilation capabilities, and was among the first to implement technology to allow EMTs to better treat heart attack patients before they arrive at the hospital for the best possible survival and outcome rates. In addition, Peck is a flight medic with Life Flight Network in La Grande.
“Tim’s emphasis on providing the safest, most effective and most efficient emergency care possible in our remote area has made a difference to our patients’ outcomes,” said Wallowa Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Larry Davy. “We’re fortunate to have him in our community.”
Peck, who is a 35-year veteran of emergency medical services, was surprised to receive the recognition. “I share credit with our crew in the EMS department,” said Peck. “They are the most valuable asset we have.”
A surprised Joyce Himes, who thought she was attending the event to see Peck receive his award, was honored the same night with the “2016 State of Oregon Lifesaving Medal” given to an EMT who makes an “extremely noteworthy contribution to efforts that result in the saving of a life while in an off-duty or volunteer capacity” according to the OHA.
Himes walked into a restaurant with her husband and friends to have dinner when she noticed a commotion at a nearby table. She heard a man yell: “Are you choking?” She went over to see a woman who could not breathe and was rapidly turning purple. Himes quickly identified herself as an EMT and performed the Heimlich maneuver until the obstruction was dislodged and the woman’s breathing resumed.
Witnesses said the situation was quickly deteriorating when Himes appeared, and believe that had she not responded when she did, the woman clearly could have died.
“It was Joyce’s quick, caring and competent response that earned her this very deserved recognition,” Peck said.
“Anyone who knows Joyce knows she has extremely high standards for herself, and for those she teaches in CPR and EMS training,” Davy said. “We’re extremely fortunate to have the quality of EMS staff that we do.”