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Upstate man saved from respiratory failure by rural area paramedics

David Reid's story shows how a push from both Greenville County and local fire departments to put more personnel and vehicles into rural areas is saving lives.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 3:06 AM EDT
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GLASSY MOUNTAIN, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - “You know, I thought about a lot on that day,” said David Reid of 2 weeks ago to the day. “I’m just grateful that what was available was available, and at the level it was for me.”

Reid says he was driving on HWY 11 in Glassy Mountain when he knew something was wrong.

“He was trying to make it home so he could get breathing treatments,” his wife Kay explained. “But he couldn’t make it, so that’s when he called me.”

Kay says she was only able to make out a few words from husband on the phone: “meet me at Glassy.”

“It was pretty hairy for a while,” David said. “My blood O2 levels had dropped.”

A COPD and Parkinson’s sufferer, David would later be hold is respiratory system was failing.

So barely conscious, he pulled his truck into the Glassy Mountain Fire Department, and parsmedics got to wo.

“They were like a fine-oiled machine, let me tell you,” Kay said. I was proud of them!”

Monday was David’s first day back at work after spending more than a week in the hospital. Both he and his wife say--he wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for local paramedics.

But departments didn’t always used that kind of staff, as Glassy Mountain Chief Robert Staples explained.

“One of the things the citizens felt is that they were under-served in area getting quick medical care,” he said, referring to a county survey that came out years back.

He says that Glassy Mountain’s board of commissioners voted to have at least one paramedic on duty at all times after the community expressed that big need.

“We’re able to provide care until an EMS unit gets there with transport,” he said.

David’s story and the efforts of Glassy Mountain FD are things County Councilman Joe Dill (District 17) says encapsulates Greenville’s new and ongoing mission perfectly.

“We want to have it where the fire departments come; they get paid to come and stabilize, then the ambulance comes in and takes you on to the hospital,” Dill told FOX Carolina.

The county is in the midst of a 2 year process to add more vehicles, and more workers skilled in advanced life support, into rural areas. They’re also funding training at local schools for aspiring paramedics.

“If you don’t have the people, the ambulance is just another truck with a bed in it,” Dill remarked.

New EMS stations have been popping up in rural areas in northern Greenville County recently, and Dill says they southern end is next.

It’s something David and Kay say kept their 30+ year old love story from ending a tragedy, which they couldn’t be more thankful for.

“Now I know, they’re here in the community and they’re available to us,” David said, beaming.

“It absolutely saved his life!” Kay added.