On Dec. 31, 2023, a carbon monoxide exposure at a church in Monroe, Utah, sent 63 patients to the emergency department at Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital in Richfield, Utah.
Emergency physicians quickly determined 49 patients needed to be transported to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Intermountain Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, and Intermountain St. George Hospital for specialized hyperbaric chamber treatment.
The need for so many patient transports – late at night on New Year’s Eve – complicated efforts to find EMS crews. However, Sevier County EMS, Piute County EMS, and Gunnison Valley EMS answered the call for help when contacted.
“Some of these crews were out of our jurisdiction, but coordination was rapidly completed way into the early morning hours,” said Josh Keel, trauma coordinator at Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital. “These crews waited while the patients were evaluated, assisted in operations at the hospital and showed tremendous patience, compassion and respect towards the patients and all who were involved.”
In honor of their service that went above and beyond the call of duty, the Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital trauma program awarded 22 of the first responders an Intermountain Challenge Coin during a ceremony on Monday, Feb. 12.
“Sevier Valley Hospital is indebted to our local EMS agencies that assisted in this incident, showing great accountability to our communities,” said Brent Schmidt, administrator of Sevier Valley Hospital. “The challenge coin isn’t presented as just a way of saying thanks for a job well done, but a prestigious token that shows our gratitude for their efforts of going above and beyond the call of duty.”
Patients and their families who were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning that day, helped hand out the coins to the EMS crews.
“We’re so grateful for their work and all they did for us that night,” said Thayne Manning. “These crews and the hospital caregivers really are dedicated to their jobs and we will forever be indebted to them.”
Intermountain Health regularly awards first responders and other emergency crews special Challenge Coins – a practice inspired by the military, fire and EMS groups, and some law enforcement groups – to recognize services that exemplify the Intermountain values: Trust, Excellence, Accountability, Mutual Respect, and Equity.
Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital is a Level IV trauma center, which means the hospital can provide advanced trauma life support to patients while evaluating and stabilizing them before a transfer to a higher-level trauma center, when needed.
The Intermountain Sevier Valley Trauma Services nursing staff receive the same special trauma training that larger hospitals in the state provide and follow many of the same trauma protocols as larger Level I trauma centers, including triage, fast door-to-CT-scan, and rapid transfer to higher levels of care.
When the 63 patients arrived at Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital on December 31, each patient needed blood work, an EKG and a thorough assessment by physicians before transfer.
“We’re grateful that the nursing staff developed a triage plan to manage the influx of patients and see that all were properly evaluated before transfer,” said Keel. “This event took a lot of coordination on the part of the hospital as well as the EMS crews. We are grateful for their partnership.”