Off-duty Acadian Ambulance medics save 4-year-old

Pictured L-R: Acadian Operations Coordinator Bruce Boudreaux, EMT Pamela McElyea, Paramedic Javier Valentin, and Operations Manager Joe Szush

When off-duty Acadian Ambulance medics Javier Valentin and Pamela McElyea chose to spend a day at a pool as a break from south Louisiana’s scorching heat, they had no idea their decision would help save a 4-year-old’s life.

Valentin and McElyea were paired together in 2012 and soon became fast friends. “We immediately hit it off,” said McElyea. “Our families go on vacations together; we just really have a great professional and personal relationship.”

Their families’ day at The Landing Apartments was going well. They escaped the heat for a couple of hours inside before heading to the busy pool area. Soon after the children began enjoying the cool water, McElyea’s daughter returned to her mother in a panic, someone was at the bottom of the pool.

Hoping it wasn’t true; McElyea scanned the pool and saw the motionless body of a young boy. She dove into the water and grabbed him; Valentin was waiting for them when they surfaced.

“It was like holding a ragdoll,” McElyea said. “He was lifeless, with no pulse, and his entire body was purple.”

The medics began CPR on the little boy, and he regained a slight pulse when Bayou Cane first responders arrived. He was transported to Terrebonne General Medical Center, where he was put into an induced coma for 48 hours. Miraculously, the child recovered fully with no permanent brain damage.

“Javier and Pamela are heroes,” said Danielle Davis, a registered nurse at Terrebonne General Medical Center. “If it weren’t for them, the child would not be alive today.”

Acadian Ambulance Operations Coordinator Bruce Boudreaux, said: “Our medics can’t work without the help of the fire department. The medics and fire department can’t save lives without the emergency room workers. Everyone has a link in the chain of survival, and that is why the young boy is alive and well.”

The medics, along with the first responders, were honored during a ceremony at Terrebonne General Medical Center on Aug. 28, 2014.

Valentin said his actions came naturally. “Whether you are in uniform or not, you are always a medic,” he said. “We just did our job.”

Since 1971, Acadian has provided the highest level of emergency medical care and transportation possible. In the past decade, the company has expanded to include a diverse suite of services in health, safety, security, and transportation. Acadian’s six divisions are Acadian Ambulance Service, Acadian Total Security, Air Med, Executive Aircraft Charter Service, National EMS Academy and Safety Management Systems.


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