October 25, 2008

Positivity: Paramedic discovers more than just a fire; saves diabetic teen’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:59 am

From Utica, New York:

PUBLISHED: Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Utica teenager said she is forever grateful for a paramedic who went beyond the call of duty last February and saved her life.

Rebekah Hambly, 17, was at work at a local coffee shop one day last February when she noticed that something more than coffee grounds was brewing in the kitchen.

“I was at work by myself and I could smell smoke, that something was burning,” said Hambly. “I immediately ran outside and called the fire department; a police car was there almost right away.”

While firefighters tended to the cause of the smoke – which turned out to be a broken belt on a piece of equipment – another paramedic, Sgt. Paramedic Joshua Lundin, noticed that something else was wrong with the employee, something totally unrelated to the reason she had dialed 9-1-1 in the first place.

“He started talking to me and asking questions, like if I knew what day it was or who was president,” said Hambly. “I thought some of the questions he was asking were pretty weird.”

Lundin told Hambly she needed to go get immediate medical attention. The teenager, who said she had woken up feeling a little lightheaded but believed she was otherwise fine, initially refused.

“I was so adamant. I told him I was fine and didn’t want to go to the hospital,” she said. “I finally just gave in and went.”

What Hambly did not realize is that, although she felt fine, she had been showing signs of a severe medical condition. After her trip to the hospital, Lundin told Hambly she had been swaying forward as if she was about to fall over, her eyes were half-closed, and that when she answered his questions she did so slowly and in a confused manner.

“I had no idea. I thought I was answering them all correctly,” she said. “I didn’t think anything was wrong.”

Doctors quickly assessed that Hambly had gone into diabetic shock. That presented the second surprise to the teenager, who had not even been diagnosed as diabetic until that day.

“My blood sugar was so low that they said within another few hours I could have slipped into a coma and died,” Hambly said. “When the doctors told me, I was shocked. At the time, I was like ŒI’m only 16. I’m too young to get diabetes.’”

Over the months, Hambly began learning more about diabetes and began a sometimes rocky road recovering from diabetic shock; she agreed to speak with The Source for this story only after she had recovered. She lost 36 pounds, changed her diet and her lifestyle, and said she now approaches life with a new outlook.

“I don’t want to have diabetes all my life. I want to do more for the community now, and I want to bring awareness to people about diabetes and who can get it,” she said. “Now I live every day for that day. It made me realize that life is short.”

Hambly, however, also began a search for her hero – the man who saw something wrong that was totally unrelated to the incident that had been called in and, thus, saved her life.

“I went on a search for him. I was like, ŒI have to thank him,’” said Hambly. “I called Assistant Chief Randy Plante and described what I remembered, and he knew right away who I was talking about.” …..

Go here for the rest of the story.


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