It was a fitting tribute to an experienced healthcare educator and provider.
Jim Austin, who passed away suddenly at a Fort Worth hospital just weeks ago, was remembered during a special ceremony on Jan. 7 by the Parker County Hospital District (PCHD).
Austin, referred to as a “staunch” supporter of the EMS program by Paul Smith, Director of LifeCare Emergency Medical Services, was honored during the installation of a new command/first response vehicle.
Smith said Austin will be missed.
“He was a staunch EMS supporter,” Smith said. “He was an experienced healthcare provider and educator; he started the EMS education program at Weatherford College back in the late 70s or early 80s. He also held a leadership role with the Weatherford College Nursing program for many years.”
PCHD CEO Randall Young echoed similar sentiments.
“I first met Jim in 1983 when he was a nursing instructor at Weatherford College and I was Director of Public Relations,” Young said. “He was very serious about preparing each class of nursing students to be trained and caring people. When he was elected to the PCHD board in May 2008, he immediately showed how committed he was to both emergency services and medical care for the less fortunate.”
Young said Austin attended education conferences annually to learn more about board responsibilities and trends.
“He was extremely supportive of our outreach immunization efforts and treated PCHD staff liked he worked for them,” Young said. “I enjoyed his sardonic, dry wit; I respected his devotion to his family. He will be sorely missed.”
Smith said the new emergency vehicle will provide additional support to EMS scenes and will at times be the first unit on scene.
“It will not typically transport a patient, however, it can be used to move a patient out of a remote area or through difficult road conditions to a waiting ambulance,” he said. “It is four-wheel drive and will be able to get in and out of areas our MICU ambulances cannot. This vehicle, like all of our MICU ambulances is equipped with 12 lead diagnostic ECG, SpO2 monitoring, ETCO2 monitoring, Video Laryngoscopes and full ALS medications and computerized transmission of patient data the receiving hospital.”
Smith added that the emergency vehicle was a budget project and approved by the board in June of last year. The vehicle as seen, without the medical equipment, was $45,650.00.