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EMS saves hunter

January 17, 2012

From WALB.com

Randolph County, GA -

A close call for a North Carolina man who was deer hunting in South Georgia. He suffered a heart attack while up in a deer stand in rural Randolph County.

But the amazingly fast actions of paramedics saved his life. 76 year old Sonny Elam, had only been in Randolph County for 2 days when his hunting trip got cut short.

He says he is thankful to be alive after a medical emergency 20 feet up in a deer stand.

"I am just glad to be alive," says Wayland "Sonny" Elam, Heart attack victim.

Last Thursday, he found himself about a mile and a half in the woods, alone, with chest pains.

"I never hurt so much in all my life, extreme pressure, paralyzed my arms,"
says Elam.

He was having a heart attack, the pain was crippling and he couldn't move. He didn't know if he would make it out.

"Ron said, 'do you want me to come pick you up', and I said 'no If I don't see anything I am going to stay here till dark, and I thought I am going to die right here, and he is not going to come get me because I told him not to," says Elam.

Luckily he had his cell phone. After a few calls to the house with no answer, he called 911.

"They told us we needed to be 10/18, which is as fast as we can get there," says Jamie Sauls, Randolph Co. EMS Director.

Jamie Sauls was one of the two paramedics dispatched to the scene. When she arrived she knew she had to work fast.

"He was having trouble breathing and he was getting weak and I was thinking any minute now, it may be too late," says Sauls.

He had 100% blockage in one of his three main arteries.

"Got my jump bag, climbed up the stand with him and cut his jacket and did an initial assessment," says Sauls.

With technology Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital donated to surrounding county's EMS in 2008, Sauls was able to transmit the heart monitor scan to the hospital while en route.

"We have got a cardiac monitor hooked up through a phone line," says Sauls.

Doctors were waiting at Phoebe and prepped him for a stint within minutes.

"Thanks to my cell phone, EMS, a good hospital and the lord, I am here, so I guess he has got something else for me to do," says Elam.

And one of those things he still needs to do is catch that deer he was waiting for.

"No we are already talking about next year," says Elam.

For now he says he has to lay off the sodium and fried food, and he says he's more committed to his wife and the Lord.

Paramedic Sauls says she kept a copy of his heart monitor print out in her pocket, as a reminder of how well everything worked out in such a stressful situation.

Sonny Elam ad his wife Harvalyn Elam headed back to North Carolina today. They plan to be back next year for some more deer hunting.

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