Lance Blythe is used to intense situations. The flight paramedic with Air Evac Lifeteam in Fayette County, Georgia is a pro, an EMS veteran whose experience in medical trauma is hard to match. But let’s face it. There are leaders and then, there are leaders, whose expertise isn’t defined by the years of service they have under their belt, but rather their knowledge and ability to direct and manage in times of crisis.
For Blythe, that example of good leadership was particularly noticeable when he provided life-saving care to a critically wounded boy who had lost a lot of blood after being shot in the abdomen. Then, to make matters worse, the medical flight that Blythe was on while treating the boy also experienced a few patches of turbulence caused by extreme winds, so it was not a smooth transport. But through it all, Blythe juggled the various circumstances that came his way and masterfully persevered.
“Lance not only performed his duties with calm and precision but also provided leadership and guidance to a new flight nurse, who while skilled, talented and very knowledgeable of her duties, was new to the organization. That nurse, along with Lance, had to effectively manage an entire supply of blood and plasma,” said Frank Palombo, Program Director for Air Evac Lifeteam.
The toddler, who Blythe treated that windy and stressful day, survived, and Blythe and the entire crew that flew and cared for him, played a vital role in that outcome. The capabilities and courage demonstrated that day were some of that factors that prompted Blythe’s leaders to select him as one of GMR’s 2022 Stars of Life recipients. The award presented by the American Ambulance Association is the nation’s most honorable distinction in the EMS industry.
Blythe said he was surprised by the recognition. “I’ve been In EMS for 16 years, and it’s an awesome and surreal feeling that I make that kind of impact that others would feel compelled to nominate me for such an award,” he said.
But for Palombo, it was Blythe’s own strategic collectedness and aplomb during challenging times that made him the right person for the designation. “He’s always formulating a plan through the chaos and brings a calmness where it may not exist. Lance is a humble hero, whose skill, talent and experience represents the best of the EMS industry.”