Taney County paramedics honor local life-savers at Tuesday's open house

From Left (back Row):  John Fox TCAD, Robert Brown SSCFPD (light blue shirt), Mike Gray TCAD...
From Left (back Row): John Fox TCAD, Robert Brown SSCFPD (light blue shirt), Mike Gray TCAD (dark shirt), Randi Mattice TCAD, Kyle Todd TCAD, Paul Kirk TCAD (white shirt), Doug Bower CTCFPD (corner, dark shirt), Jeremy Price TCAD, Scott Cizek BFD (white shirt), Steven Ulm TCAD (hat), Burt Roberts CTCFPD (gray shirt), Bryan Pippin CTCFPD (barely visible), Jeremy Chaney CTCFPD (light blue uniform shirt), Craig Pollard (red shirt), Josh Single TCAD (White shirt), Robby Berscheid TCAD, Ryan Woods TCAD (tan pants far right)<br /><br />From Left (Front row): Matt Eaves BFD (kneeling), Josh Boehm BFD (kneeling white shirt), Trey Spooner TCAD (standing), Brian Chaney CTCFPD (kneeling black and red jacket), Natalie Brown SSCFPD (red shirt), Rob Test TCAD (kneeling), Olive Landry TCAD (standing dark shirt), Allysa Esson TCAD (standing blue shirt), Mat Mings TCAD (standing), Rachel Dooley TCAD (standing dark shirt red hair), Don Gregory BFD (kneeling center), Angela Welch TCAD (kneeling dark shirt), Kendra Rockriver CTCFPD (standing light blue shirt), Jared Layton CTCFPD(kneeling light blue shirt), Brad Chaney (standing blue jeans)<br /><br />Not pictured: Christian Salley BFD, Shannon Holt TCAD, Corbin Riggs, Brent Swickard TCAD, Randy Fogle BFD, Christopher Chindlund BFD, Ryan Watkins TCAD, Rodney Dempsey, Rick Lawler TCAD, Robin Fisher TCAD, James Higgins TCAD (KY3)
Published: May. 21, 2019 at 2:18 PM CDT
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Local heroes were honored in Taney County for their efforts in saving people suffering from cardiac arrest.

During an open house event at the Taney County Ambulance District, people involved in saving eight lives from May 2018 to May 2019 were recognized with Life Saver Awards.

Linda Puyear was one person who was saved by bystanders' quick actions. She and her husband Scott were watching a movie at Branson's IMAX Theater when she went into cardiac arrest.

"I looked over at her and she was slumped down and her head was down. I thought she'd fallen asleep," Scott said.

Linda doesn't remember that day. However, Scott says a nurse and an off-duty firefighter from Southern Stone County were sitting nearby in the theater and offered to help.

"The fireman ended up picking her up and carrying her out to the lobby where they could lay her down flat," Scott said.

When paramedics arrived, the firefighter, the nurse, and Scott were doing CPR.

"Quality compressions were being done. They already had a rescue mask. They were doing ventilation for her, as well," Paramedic Robby Berscheid said.

Berscheid says if the strangers wouldn't have stepped in, Linda could have died.

"With cardiac arrest, time is muscle. You want to get somebody on the chest, doing compressions as quickly as possible," Berscheid said.

Paramedics say, unfortunately, situations like this often don't have a good ending.

"The national average for out-of-hospital cardiac survival is about 4 percent. In Taney County, we have a 33 percent survival rate," Ambulance District Spokesperson Lt. Johnathan Tudor said.

Lt. Tudor says the higher average is attributed to community training like free hands-only CPR courses and bystanders being willing to step in.

"You never know when a cardiac arrest event is going to happen," Berscheid said.

That's why the people who helped Linda, along with others who helped save lives, were recognized with the annual "Life Saver Award."

"We are very excited. We actually had eight life saves this year," Lt. Tudor said.

Paramedics say because of those bystanders and trained medical personell, people like Linda are here today.

"I've been given a miraculous second chance," Linda said.

Also at the open house event, the district headquarters in Hollister displayed all of its equipment, gave tours of the facilities, and let the public see if they have what it takes to be a paramedic.