Taylor will be awarded his third Life Saving Award

John Thompson • Updated Jun 12, 2018 at 8:15 PM

ELIZABETHTON — On Thursday night police officer Matt Taylor will be recognized by the Elizabethton City Council for saving a life.

It is one of the council’s more pleasant actions to present the police department’s Life Saving Award to an officer who has responded to a crime scene or accident scene ahead of ambulance crews and taken immediate action that saved someone’s life.

Corporal Taylor recalled the circumstances of the incident on May 3. “We got a call about a possible physical altercation,” Taylor said. “There were two men in the road on Pine Ridge Circle.” As he was on his way, there was a report that one of the men had been hit by a pickup truck.

It did not take Taylor much time to reach the scene. The first thing he saw was a white Nissan pickup truck with a damaged windshield. He also saw a man lying behind the truck, screaming and asking for help.

Taylor quickly identified the driver and detained him as he went to the aid of the injured man.

He said the man was losing a lot of blood from his right bicep. “I could see muscle and tissue protruding from the injury,” Taylor said.

Taylor knew something had to be done because the man was losing so much blood and he did not know how long it would take for the Carter County Rescue Squad to get there. He then used his medical skills and training to help the victim.

He took the department-issued tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Taylor said he also found the man had a bad cut on his right inner thigh, but that cut was not life-threatening,

Taylor then cut off the shirt of the man to check for other bleeding spots. As he was doing this, the Rescue Squad arrived and took over from Taylor.

Taylor said it appeared the victim had been hit by the truck, then crashed into the windshield, where the broken glass severely cut his arm. The man then apparently landed in the bed of the truck, but was lying in the road when Taylor reached the scene.

Sgt. Douglas Combs, who is not Taylor’s sergeant, wrote in his report of the accident that “I believe Corporal Taylor’s quick actions of medical treatment and scene security” sustained life and created a safe environment for the ambulance team.

Combs said he believed the victim “would have continued to bleed profusely until arrival of EMS and may not have survived, had Cpl. Taylor not acted.” Combs then recommended the department’s awards committee convene to consider awarding Taylor with the Life Saving Award.

The committee did meet and by secret vote, the committee unanimously recommended Taylor for the award.

This is not the first time Taylor has received the award. In fact, this makes his third Life Saving Award.

Taylor has also received the award for successfully using an automated external defibrillator to get a heart working again for a victim in cardiac arrest.

He is most proud of the performance that won him the second award. That time, he saved a 2-year-old child who was choking on food. That time, Taylor rushed to the scene and was greeted by the child’s mother, who was carrying the child in her arms.

Taylor took the child and used the child Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the trapped food.

Taylor is rather modest about the number of Life Saving Awards he has received. He wears only the single ribbon, without the device signifying he has been awarded more than one.

There is a reason why Taylor has been so successful in saving lives. He has served with the Elizabethton Police Department for eight years, but before that he worked four years as an emergency medical technician with the Washington County-Johnson City Emergency Medical Services.

While Taylor’s lifesaving skills are extensive, he said every officer in the department receives first-aid training and the department is working to get enough AEDs in the field so there will be one for each of the three zones of the city.

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