NGMC Recognizes First Responders and Care Team Who Saved Man's Life

Published on April 26, 2019

When someone suffers a severe heart attack or cardiac arrest, there are many people - from bystanders to first responders to medical professionals - who play critical roles like links in a survival chain to give them the best chance of survival. Last week, Northeast Georgia Medical Center attended  Flowery Branch's monthly city council meeting to recognize the team that saved Flowery Branch resident Hank Wade's life.

"I'm overwhelmed by not just the number of people responsible for my recovery, but the amount of talent each person possesses," said Wade. "I know that every individual, from the 9-1-1 dispatcher to the cardiologist at NGMC, put their heart and soul into saving my life. I can't describe how grateful that makes me."

Last January, Wade suffered the most severe type of heart attack, called an ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), which caused a cardiac arrest. His wife called 9-1-1, and 9-1-1 dispatcher, Donna Welch, talked Wade's wife, Tracey, through performing bystander CPR until Flowery Branch police arrived. Police Cpl. Denton Vaughan and Officer Casey Charlton, used an AED donated to the Flowery Branch Police Department by Firehouse Subs to restart Wade's heart. Paramedic Marlana Crews diagnosed Mr. Wade with a STEMI, began the crucial, initial treatment and notified NGMC that Wade was on his way to the hospital. She and her team transported Wade to NGMC where cardiologist J. Jeffrey Marshall, MD, was waiting and performed additional procedures to save his life.

"In cases of cardiac arrest, performing CPR is the first step in a series of critical activities that must all occur – or we don't get this good result," said Jason Grady, regional STEMI coordinator for NGMC. "We wanted to recognize the first responders – including the 9-1-1 dispatcher, local police and paramedics – as well as medical staff at NGMC who all did exactly what was needed to save Hank’s life."

Vaughan and Charlton were also presented with Lifesaving Medals by the Flowery Branch Police Department at the city council meeting for their quick action using the AED to restart Wade’s heart.

Statistics show that patients experiencing out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have a less than 10 percent chance of surviving.  However, when these patients are treated by a coordinated system of care, such as the Northeast Georgia STEMI System that is in place for patients like Wade, their chance of survival increases to greater than 40 percent.

Learn how to perform CPR in five minutes or less at

Learn more about the Northeast Georgia Regional STEMI System at or by calling 770-219-3840.

Copyright ©2020 Northeast Georgia Health System, Inc. | 743 Spring Street Gainesville, GA 30501 | (770) 219-9000

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In late January, NGHS created a Coronavirus Task Force including leaders from across the system to begin preparing for the possibility that our facilities and staff may see patients with COVID-19.

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