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Three true lifesavers honored 

The Southern Illinoisan
May 25, 2012
By Codell Rodriguez

CARBONDALE — Ashley Thouvenot was working her fifth orientation shift at Jackson County Ambulance Service in February when the call came in of a teenager suffering a cardiac arrest.

The ambulance crew of Thouvenot, Shannon Rice and Dave Amberger arrived after Carbondale police officers administered CPR and used medication and a defibrillator before getting him to Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. Doctors used hypothermia to slow down the damage. Dottie Miles, director of Jackson County Ambulance, said the teenager was playing basketball when he collapsed.

The crew of the ambulance was honored Thursday at Jackson County Ambulance for call of the year. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon was at the event to honor the crew and was also presented with a plaque for her support of emergency management services and a shirt to make her an honorary member of Jackson County Ambulance Service.

Simon said real superheroes do not wear tights and capes.

“These are the real superheroes,” Simon said. “These are the people who keep us alive.”

Thouvenot has now been on the job for four months and said it is “kind of surreal” to be getting an award already.

“I’m very lucky to be working here and I’m having a lot of fun,” she said.

Rice and Amberger, 8- and 14-year veterans, respectively, said they appreciated the recognition the crew received.

“We were just doing our job, like we do every day,” Rice said.

Dr. Joseph Haake, emergency room and EMS director at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, said the hypothermia treatment used on the teenager has helped him get patients back to normal without permanent damage.

“What we’re doing is preventing further injury,” Haake said.

He said the teen’s ability to bounce back makes him a “poster child” of why the treatment is used.