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HILLSVILLE — Snow and ice didn't keep two Carroll County medics from providing professional and caring assistance to a resident who had been stranded in the cold for hours last Feb. 13.
At a county supervisors’ meeting July 12, emergency medical physician Daune Angell highly praised the attention and care demonstrated by Carroll Fire & Rescue personnel during poor weather in February.
She spoke during time set aside for recognition of county employees Michael Parris and Keith Schlabach.
As their concern for a neighbor grew during the snowy and cold conditions on Feb. 13, the doctor and her husband decided to check on a man who lived nearby.
As they passed the man's place on their way to their Deepwater Road home, they didn't see any evidence that he had been venturing outside, Angell said.
"We knew he was kind of a hermit, but he always came to his mailbox — that was his one social event."
But the Angels hadn't seen any tracks in the snow for a while.
When they walked in, taking about an hour to do so, they found the man face down in the snow outside his house, Angell said. They feared the worst.
But they saw his red hat moving around and were surprised he was alive.
The Angels took care of the victim, with help from neighbors.
He wasn't moving his right side at all, so the doctor believed he had a stroke.
From what they found inside, like the fire having gone out, they believed that the resident had been laying in the snow for about eight hours. They surmised he hadn't eaten in days and found only eight eggs and some margarine in the house.
They covered the man up and stoked up the fire to get him warm — or at least to keep him from feeling any colder, Angel said. They made coffee in the coals and fed him scrambled eggs to give him strength.
It was 20 degrees outside and windy that day. The man was wearing thin socks and had a nice Carhartt jacket, but it was soaked.
George Angell went off to get help, the doctor said. It took a while as he walked through the snow.
Dawn Angell was still feeding the man when Parris and Schalbach showed up.
"I look up and these two fine gentlemen come walking up and it was the best thing I had seen in forever," Angell recalled. "These two gentlemen came up and they just immediately took over, they knew exactly what to do…"
They asked about medications, helped keep the man warm and checked his vital signs. After getting the patient loaded into the litter, Parris and Schalbach carried him out the whole way.
"They were so gentle with him," Angell said. "We had to cross lots of little steep creeks and stuff… it was very, very hard work for them to do."
When they got to the ambulance, it was already nice and warm and had IVs ready to go.
The medics took him to Twin County Regional Hospital. His body temperature was lower than the lowest mark of 84 degrees on the thermometer.
When the man experienced swelling in the legs — a sign of possible frostbite — officials decided to transfer him to another facility.
Angell saw that the Carroll personnel would have taken the man themselves, but caregivers decided to fly him out instead.
Angell found the medics professional and courteous, and she felt proud of them and congratulated them at the meeting. "I'm just very impressed, very impressed."
(Angell practices in Winston-Salem, N.C., and lives just across the Floyd County line.)
With that, supervisors' Chairman Wes Hurst and County Administrator Gary Larrowe gave the medics employee recognition certificates as Angell watched.