Tulsa Paramedic Surprised To Be Heat Exhaustion Patient

Friday, August 3rd 2012, 5:42 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The incredible heat of the last week continues to take a toll. EMSA's "heat alert" continues - as the ambulance service responds to help people overwhelmed by hot weather.

It even got to one of their own.

Last weekend - EMSA ended up treating one of their own paramedics who says he didn't realize how heat exhaustion could sneak up on a person.

Ray Espy is no delicate flower. He's 38 years old and works as a full time firefighter and part time paramedic.

This summer, he's been helping plenty of people with heat problems.

"Everybody is probably running around a little dehydrated, and they don't realize it," said Tulsa firefighter and paramedic Ray Espy.

Last weekend - the heat of a tennis court was too much for him, while he played a tournament in Moore. He started feeling bad by lunchtime but kept on playing until mid afternoon - when he couldn't go any longer.

"My whole body cramped up. I got lightheaded, dizzy, threw up, and it really scared my wife," he said.

Espy - the EMSA paramedic - ended up getting treatment from EMSA for mild heat exhaustion. He recognizes now he should have seen it coming.

"I really did ignore some classic signs," Espy said.

Those classic signs are dizziness, nausea, cramps and chills. The treatment is to loosen clothing, get to a cool area, and slowly drink more fluids.

"It really just caught me off guard. Now that I look back on it I remember having chills about six hours into it and that should have been the classic sign to me that 'hey, you're done,'" he said.

He didn't end up needing treatment at a hospital - and he's back on the job treating other people.

But Espy says now he's more understanding of how people get into a problems with the heat.

"People are just trying get through this hot, hot summer and sometimes the heat gets the best of us, whether we want it to or not," said Ray Espy, Tulsa firefighter and paramedic.