MedStar Dispatcher Wins National Recognition

May 6, 2009 (Fort Worth, Texas) No hospital delivery room, no Lamaze coach, no team of doctors and nurses. For Cortney Gaddis, 24 weeks pregnant and in labor in a Fort Worth parking lot, there were just some helpful bystanders and one calm 9-1-1 dispatcher.


31 year-old Gaddis was in her vehicle and had just delivered her baby’s umbilical cord. This situation, called a prolapsed cord, is a rare and serious emergency that can be very harmful to a baby. When the cord is compressed or squeezed, the baby's supply of blood and oxygen is cut off. The lack of oxygen can lead to severe brain damage or death if the problem is not resolved within minutes.


Thankfully, the 9-1-1 caller was connected to Rebecca Sims, a dispatcher with MedStar Emergency Medical Services in Fort Worth. Sims, who has been a MedStar dispatcher for three years, calmly, quickly, and correctly identified all the issues for this prolapsed cord situation. Sims stayed on the line, gave instructions on how to monitor the baby’s pulse in the cord, and calmed Gaddis and bystanders until MedStar’s Paramedic Shane Ansel and EMT Heath Stone arrived on the scene. Gaddis was transported to an area hospital where she delivered the baby by emergency cesarean section.
Gaddis praises Sims and the MedStar ambulance crew who responded that day. “I’m so incredibly thankful for them,” Gaddis said.


“Rebecca is a true example of emergency medical dispatch excellence and MedStar values,” said Jack Eades, MedStar’s executive director.


In recognition for her work on the January 10 emergency call, Sims received the 2009 Dispatcher of the Year award from the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) at the annual Navigator conference last week in Las Vegas. The award recognizes the NAED certified dispatcher who has made the most significant contributions to further the values and mission of the Academies through personal action, which includes expertise in accurately following protocol when used in an extraordinary situation.


All 33 dispatchers at MedStar are NAED certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers and processed more than 111,000 EMS calls in 2008.

About MedStar
MedStar is the exclusive emergency and non-emergency ambulance service provider to 15 Tarrant County cities including Blue Mound, Burleson, Edgecliff Village, Forest Hill, Fort Worth, Haltom City, Haslet, Lakeside, Lake Worth, River Oaks, Saginaw, Samson Park, Westover Hills, Westworth Village, and White Settlement. Established in 1986, MedStar provides advanced life support ambulance service to 421 square miles and more than 860,000 residents in Tarrant County. MedStar responds to more than 100,000 emergency calls a year with a fleet of 47 ambulances.

About NAED
The NAED is a non-profit standard-setting organization promoting safe and effective emergency dispatch services worldwide. Comprised of three allied Academies for medical, fire and police dispatching, the NAED supports first-responder related research, unified protocol application, legislation for emergency call center regulation, and strengthening the emergency dispatch community through education, certification, and accreditation.