Welcome to Tom’s Take On Things
Hi, my name is Tom Shewbridge and this page is about who I am. I am a former Paramedic with Cleveland EMS, and was since September of 1997 till late 2002. I resigned due to residency requirements. I have been in Emergency Medicine in one fashion or another for 20+ years now. I used to work at St. Vincent Charity Hospital in the ER for almost 5 years. I have worked for two private ambulance companies the most recent was Hillcrest Ambulance, and in the past the no longer formed National Ambulance. I was also an Army Medic during the years of 1987-1991, and was involved with Desert Storm/Desert Shield for 11 months. I worked in the intensive care unit at Lakewood Hospital for 2 years prior to being in the emergency room of Fairview General Hospital for a couple of years as well,both of which are part of Cleveland Clinic. I used to work at Concentra Medical Centers in Downtown Cleveland as well as the Akron, Ohio area. They are a service provider of all things occupational medicine for a number of companies,they now also offer Urgent Care, so keep them in mind!! Currently I am a Stay at Home Paramedic (it doesn’t pay much!) but I look for PRN opportunities or on call work if any is available.
In September of 1998, I had the unfortunate incident of having a 3800 pound passenger van fall on me during a rescue of a 20 year old girl. Let me first off by saying that the events that occurred were unique, and I want to remind you that scene safety and sizing up of the scene are extremely important. We had a van with 6 passengers flip 5-6 times on a stretch of road we call Dead Man’s Curve, the driver was intoxicated and driving extremely fast before losing control, all 6 individuals were ejected from the vehicle. Cleveland Fire Department was on scene for approximately nine minutes prior to the first EMS squad to arrive. A total of three CFD units were on scene, an engine, a ladder, and a CFD rescue unit. When we arrived, 3 units were initially dispatched and arrived on scene about the same time. We split up and started to triage the patients that were scattered among the area of the accident. I just happened to have the patient that was proximate to the van that was sitting on its side when I arrived. There was no evidence of the van shifting, the wheels were not moving, and the van seemed to be in a state of rest at the time of size up. While my intentions was to place the victim on a backboard to move her out of harms way, a bystander on scene was climbing around the vehicle, and slid into it, causing the momentum it needed to started falling back over. By the time I saw the vehicle coming down, I could not get out, so being in the profession that we are, I said I will just cover her body. I did this, and felt the weight of the van falling onto my back. It took 11 people to lift the van off of us, While everyone else was holding up the van, I had to find strength to get to my feet, pull the girl out of harms way, before collapsing to the ground from the pain of having it initially hitting me, to the burns that I took from the heat of the undercarriage, to the now numbness in my hands and feet from having this happen. I ended up sublexing my C-4 and C-5 vertebrae, causing some of the sensations that I was feeling. I spent almost 6 closer to 7 days, at a trauma hospital, as they were concerned about the swelling that I had suffered in my neck. I had extreme pain in my neck and back, and after release spent almost 7 months through physical therapy to learn how to lift again, to have strength again, and confidence to come back. My patient survived after almost 9 hours of surgery for a shattered pelvis, that was causing internal bleeding, causing some major problems. I have no regrets for the decision I made, I did my JOB, I was trying to save a life. Do I wish I could change the events of how it happened? Yes and no, but that would have not changed my decision to do what I did. A patient was at risk, and while there was risk to the rescuer which was me at this time I made a decision to do what I could. There are always variables in what we do, and while I am sure most of us has faced decisions that have impacted lives, I am still glad I made the choice I did. I received an award of meritorious service from Cleveland EMS, and I also received the Rotary’s Club, Medal of Valor. While I would have given anything to get rid of the back and neck pain I was experiencing, I was honored to receive the awards I was given. What else can I say? Watch your back (literally), and look out for each other. Always important to go home at the end of the day.
Some of the things I enjoy are included in the links I have provided for you, I enjoy a wide variety of things from Astronomy, to golf, an on-line game called City of Villains, collecting and playing the game Magic: The Gathering, and I enjoy playing chess. I am now currently interested in all things BOINC, what is BOINC, well it is a program that allows your computers unused resources to help science and medical projects around the world, if you are interested definitely email me, or join my team, we are helpful, and there to get the job done!