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Paramedic Honored for Saving Nurse From Patient Assault

American Medical Response Paramedic Sarah Marsango is being honored for helping save a Lompoc Valley Medical Center nurse who was being attacked by a patient.

Without regard to her own safety, Marsango jumped to assist an LVMC emergency room triage nurse, who was being choked by an agitated and uncooperative patient.

For her actions, Marsango is being honored with the Meritorious Service Award from the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.
Marsango was nominated for the award by LVMC Emergency Department Director Lorraine Jones.

The award will be bestowed Dec. 6 at a meeting of the Commission on Emergency Medical Services in San Francisco.

According to Jones’ nomination, Marsango and her partner had transported a patient to the triage area of the hospital emergency department. The patient was acting unusual, restless and agitated.

After the patient made an obscene gesture to the EMT, the LVMC nurse told the patient that was inappropriate behavior. The patient repeated the gesture at the nurse, who began to feel threatened.

The patient then suddenly lunged from a sitting position to standing, and grabbed the nurse’s ponytail, yanking her head back. The patient then started to strangle the ER nurse with both hands.

“Sarah heard the commotion and ran back to the triage area,” according to the nomination. “Sarah was able to grab the patient, who tossed the triage nurse across the room like a rag doll into a table.

"Sarah was able to take the patient down to the floor and was able to restrain the patient until more staff arrived.

"The triage nurse was no match for this patient. The injuries sustained by the triage nurse were minimal due to Sarah’s quick response and willingness to put herself in harm’s way over another.”

The nurse, who asked not to be named, said Marsango showed no hesitation in helping. “She jumped in and protected one of her own,” the nurse said. “She was so professional about it. It was heroic. It makes you feel safe at work when there are people like that around you.”

Marsango, a 2003 graduate of Cabrillo High School, has been involved in emergency medical response for 13 years. She joined AMR in 2004 and became a paramedic in 2010. She said it was just instinctual to respond the way she did.

Some people run in that situation. It’s probably the smarter thing to do. If the nurse hadn’t been in trouble, I probably would have backed out,” Marsango said.

Marsango is one of 24 Californians being honored for heroic acts.  

The annual awards honor and recognize exceptional acts and service by individuals working or volunteering in California's emergency medical system.

The award ceremony is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, Medic Ambulance, Bound Tree Medical, California Professional Firefighters, American Medical Response, California Fire Chiefs Association and California Ambulance Association.

— Nora K. Wallace for Lompoc Valley Medical Center.

 
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