Piedmont Medical Center paramedics honored with state awards

Several local emergency medical service paramedics were recognized for their performance at a state symposium.

Piedmont Medical Center EMS Assistant Chief Robert White was named South Carolina Paramedic of the Year, a title he also won in 2000. White has been with Piedmont EMS since 1991.

Two other paramedics, Marcus Barnes and Rodney Dutton, were named runners-up in a competition at the symposium by “responding to difficult scenarios with speed and precision,” according to a release from Piedmont Medical Center.

Barnes and Dutton have been with Piedmont EMS since 2007 and 2009, respectively.

“I’m still in a state of shock because I look around me and I see all our men and women who are so much more deserving,” White said. “It truly is a team effort.”

For White, being a paramedic is a passion, not just a job. Each day when he wakes up, he said, he wants to make a difference in somebody’s life.

“We don’t do it for the pay,” he said. “We do it for the passion to care for others in their time of need.”

The Barnes/Dutton team was the first PMC team to make it to the state paramedics competition.

With more than 300 people looking on, Barnes and Dutton had to address a scenario while judges watched their every move.

“It was awesome,” Barnes said. “I really like the adrenaline of competing and just knowing I’m doing a really good job.”

This year’s scenario had three victims in a home. One had diabetes, another was suffering from a heroin overdose and the third was having a cocaine-induced heart attack.

The scenarios are usually related to current events, Barnes said, so this year’s focus was on drug issues.

“We really thought we had brought home the gold,” Barnes said. “The judges said it was the closest scoring ever had in the history of the competition.”

Michael Wallace, the director of Piedmont Medical Center EMS said Barnes, Dutton and White are all excellent representatives of the 150 EMTs and paramedics at PMC.

“It truly is an exceptional representation of our entire department,” Wallace said of their awards. “They are wonderful individuals, all of them, and they are highly qualified and skilled at what they do.”