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Story by Oregon Herald staff
Published on Wednesday May 20, 2020 - 8:17 AM
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Nolan Gerety, Paramedic & Field Training Officer Selected as AMR NW's Star of Life

(Portland, Oregon) — The American Ambulance Association's (AAA) Stars of Life program celebrates contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone beyond the call of duty in service to their communities. Nolan Gerety, Paramedic with American Medical Response (AMR) Multnomah County, was selected to receive the 2020 Star of Life award for AMR NW. Gerety has been a Paramedic for three years and worked in EMS (Emergency Medical Services) for eight. Nolan, his wife, and family live in their childhood town of St. Helens, Oregon. Gerety is the newest Field Training Officer (FTO) promoted at AMR's Multnomah County Operations, which provides 911-ambulance services to residents of the county. AMR has been the contracted ambulance provider in Multnomah County provider since 1995.


The Star of Life program recognizes unsung heroes at ambulance services across the nation: EMTs, Paramedics, Dispatchers, and other EMS professionals. The program pays tribute to the contributions of exemplary providers while highlighting the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure. This year's class of Stars and their guests would have celebrated in a series of events in Washington D.C. Regretfully; the American Ambulance Association canceled the 2020 Stars of Life program due to the Corona Virus Pandemic.

EMS providers are nominated for:

On-duty or off-duty services above and beyond the call of duty: special rescues or setting significant records Significant community distinction or honors related to ambulance, public safety, public health or health care services Consistent service record which exemplifies your ambulance operation's mission, and more The Incident - Struck on a Sidewalk

It started out as a regular shift at AMR's Multnomah County Operations. However, Paramedics Nolan Gerety and Brett Kruger will likely never forget that day. Nor will their patient, a university student in Portland who received critical injuries after a speeding vehicle jumped the curb and struck her while she was walking down the sidewalk.

Witnesses reported the impact launched her into the air and then landed on her head. Fortunately, Medic 325 was nearby and reached the scene in less than 4 minutes. After seconds on scene, the Paramedics knew immediately the patient's status was critical.

Gerety knew the patient had significant airway compromise and set up for intubation (insertion of a tube into a patient's airway to assist breathing). His partner and firefighters secured the patient for transport and quickly moved her to the ambulance. After initial attempts to intubate, Gerety realized the injuries were too severe - she needed a surgical airway. Gerety used a scalpel to obtain a surgical airway through the cricothyroid membrane in the patient's neck. He placed the airway in one attempt.

The crew's scene and transport times contributed to the patient's survival. She was moved quickly to the ambulance; an airway was secured within minutes on scene. An IO (intraosseous infusion of fluid) was placed while enroute to the hospital. It was just 15 minutes from their arrival on scene to when they arrived at the doors of Legacy Emanuel's Trauma Center. They went directly to OR (Operating Room) with their patient.

Weeks later, the family contacted Nolan and Brett to thank them. Remarkably, the patient spent three weeks in intensive care but left the hospital with thoughts of how soon she would be able to go back to school.

Nolan states: "This call was not only career defining, but life changing. As a young medic you have all the confidence and excitement needed to save lives. It is not until a call like this comes along, you are humbled, and really have your eyes opened. It has made me really dig into my training, and to focus on how I can use this experience to help lead and teach others. I thought I was prepared for it all, but nothing can prepare you mentally for having to make a split-second decision like that. I couldn't be more grateful for the positive outcome, not only for the patient, but for my life and career as well."

For his rapid assessment and quick response of this severely injured trauma patient with airway compromise, Nolan Gerety was selected as AMR NW's 2020 Star of Life.

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About American Medical Response

American Medical Response, Inc., America's leading provider of medical transportation, provides services in 40 states and the District of Columbia. More than 28,000 AMR paramedics, EMTs, RNs and other professionals work together to transport more than 4.8 million patients nationwide each year in critical, emergency and non-emergency situations. AMR also provides fire services through Rural Metro Fire Department,, and managed transportation services through Access2Care, AMR is a subsidiary of Global Medical Response, For more information about AMR, visit and follow American Medical Response on Facebook @AMR_Social on Twitter and Instagram.