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Survival Flight Rejoices in Dispatcher Recovery


Survival Flight recognized Chris Rich for her dedication on Friday, Oct. 9. Pictured above are from the left: Survival Flight Membership Manager Patty Barnes, Flight Nurse Austin Menichino, Chris Rich and Flight Paramedic Barry Matthes. Photograph by Marlana Smith.

Shelby County 911 Dispatcher Chris Rich was recognized by Survival Flight on Friday, Oct. 9 for her dedication to the community at 911.

    On Aug. 24, Rich was getting ready to work a shift at the Shelby County dispatch center when she experienced a stroke and was unable to walk, talk or follow commands.

  Her husband, Bill, called 911. Salt River Ambulance recognized Chris was having a stroke and asked for an air medical helicopter at that time. Survival Flight 3 was the closest available.

  The Salt River Ambulance crew readied the patient for transport. The flight crew was able to land, assess Mrs. Rich and load her into the helicopter in eight minutes.

  Survival Flight Membership Manager Patty Barnes said, “With strokes, time is everything, every potential minute that goes by is more brain tissue that is potentially damaged.”

  University Hospital in Columbia notified an “Activated Stroke Team.”

  Due to her husband calling 911 right away and the fast activation of the air medical helicopter, Chris was in surgery within one hour from the time of her symptoms and onset happened.

“Survival Flight crew is happy to be there for one of our own when they are sick. We see many patients every month but are internally grateful to take care of Chris as she has given more for her community then many know,” Barnes said.

  “A dispatcher is the first person someone talks to when they call 911, the voice that is trying to keep the caller calm while they are also sending help,” Barnes continued.

  “Dispatchers, law enforcement, EMS and Fire work together as one team, one mission. To keep our community safe and cared for.”