Paramedics commended for uphill effort to save man's life



AUSTELL, Ga. - Quick thinking by a Cobb County ambulance crew is credited with saving the life of a man having a heart attack.

Seconds after their ambulance unexpectedly stalled near Wellstar Cobb Hospital, paramedics Vicki Borgia and Chris Gudaitis knew any delay could be the difference between life and death.

"We knew at any moment, he could go into cardiac arrest, so it was very critical we got him to definitive care which was the hospital, he needed the (operating room)," said Borgia.

"Pretty much at the same time, we said, 'Let's just pull him, let's just take him,'" Gudaitis said.

The pair showed Channel 2's Ross Cavitt how after making a split-second decision to make the run, they unloaded their critical patient and started toward the ER doors. It took just a few steps to realize what they were in for.

"We were all about it when we first got out of the truck. When we got about half way there, then we slowed up quite a bit. It started to get to us quite a bit," Gudaitis said.

They actually had a paramedic trainee with them as well. Besides the patient, who was a big guy himself, another 120 pounds or so of gear was on a stretcher.

"I didn't know I could sweat that much," Gudaitis said.

"I think that the other ambulance crews that were there thought we were stressed about having a critical patient and not that we'd come up this hill," Borgia said.

Borgia said the medical team was at first astounded they'd run their cardiac patient up the hill, but later said it was a life-saving dash.

"Everybody was very happy we decided to make that decision because within two to three minutes of us getting him to that bed he did go into cardiac arrest," Borgia said.

"Any delay out here he would have gone into cardiac arrest out here," Gudaitis said.

Borgia, meanwhile, said she has no regrets.

"I would do it all over again," she said.