Sheriff Trevor Jensen and Aaron Ordoñez received praise at last week’s Grant County Commission meeting for going above and beyond during a difficult call.
The call involved several medical emergencies, including Ordoñez driving an ambulance, something he had only done once before during his eight years at the office. Providing medical assistance is not the least of law enforcement’s duties, and officials say projects are underway in the department that reflect this need.
According to a police report, on Nov. 3 around 12:15 p.m., a 911 caller in Arenas Valley reported an unresponsive person found on her property. He said he had just sold his home and told the 44-year-old man that if he could get some iron from his property, he would, he said later. from Ordoñez.
According to the report, the woman went into the barn on the property to get a bucket and when she returned, she found the man hanging from the door of his truck. , and she said she thought she was bruised. He fell to the ground, where he tried to administer CPR before calling 911. He said he was unconscious and had no injuries.
EMTs arrived first, followed by Ordoñez, who immediately called Jensen for backup.
“We needed another body to help with CPR,” Ordoñez said. “At that point, it was just me and an older guy doing CPR, while the paramedics were trying to get involved.”
Ordoñez explained that even if an adult is a skilled EMT, CPR is physically demanding, even for a first responder. Ordoñez, Jensen and the medical staff take turns in two positions: one to perform chest compressions, and the other to remove fluid from the person’s mouth while instilling an air bag. into his lips.
Other interventions include Narcan and epinephrine, used to treat opioid overdoses and allergic reactions. The patient did not respond.
After talking to a doctor at Gila Regional Medical Center, the team was told to take the man to the hospital.
Realizing that all hands were needed to continue CPR, Ordoñez jumped into the driver’s seat of the ambulance, and Jensen followed in his own police car.
Ordoñez knew what to do now, he said, because he had been put in a similar situation years ago, when he was new to the force.
“Afterwards, the paramedic in the back said to hurry up,” Ordoñez recalled. “The ambulance is not like the old cars – it’s a big box in the back with people.”
Based on this wisdom and many other experiences, Ordoñez said that when he thinks about his cargo, his focus is on the road.
“During the day, it’s harder to see emergency lights,” he explained. “Even though the lights and sounds are on, many people have their radios on and don’t pay attention to their rearview mirrors.”
Ordoñez went up to Gila Regional Medical Center’s emergency bay and jumped back in to help his team perform CPR. He went on a gurney into the ER, where nurses and doctors took care of him.
Exhausted and short of breath after more than 45 minutes of CPR, Ordoñez said he immediately returned to work. Jensen was there to take him back to his car in Arenas Valley.
Although it doesn’t happen often, Sheriff Frank Gomez said law enforcement for driving an ambulance is not unheard of. Officers often respond with medical aid, and in severe cases, the driver – also an EMT – is needed to help the patient.
“In the area, most of the emergencies are EMS,” Gomez said. “But if [a case] it’s bad… Dispatch will make a protocol decision to page an officer.”
Ordoñez said all law enforcement officers in New Mexico must have basic CPR training. He estimates that about 35-40 percent of the calls he answers require some type of medical response from him, mostly CPR.
“What we can do is lend a hand,” he said. “The people in the area are there to help where it’s needed.”
Paramedics are also trained to administer other basic treatments, such as bandages and splints, which are included in the pain kits that each officer now carries.
“Four or five months ago, we bought trauma bags,” Gomez said. Gila Regional “EMS Director Eloy Medina conducted training.”
Ordoñez said the department is also looking into offering basic EMT training. He said even if he wanted to — and could help in other ways if he trained more — it wouldn’t affect the Nov. 3 call.
As for the recognition, Ordoñez said it was his first in eight years.
“It’s good to know,” he said. “But with this kind of work, you do a lot of good things, and you don’t always get recognized.”
And when he was first called to the County Clerk’s meeting the day before to receive the award, Ordoñez said he had no idea what it was about.
Jo Lutz may attend [email protected]