Dedicated Paramedics Push a Patient Through the Ice Themselves

When their ambulance could get no traction on slippery roads, two young men found another way to get a citizen to the hospital

Image Credit: CESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images

With much of the country under the grip — and at the mercy — of Old Man Winter right now, many people are finding it challenging and even dangerous to manage and navigate through their daily routines.

Still, for a pair of firefighter paramedics in St. Louis, Missouri, nothing stands in the way of helping others.

What seemed a normal call for help from an everyday citizen quickly turned into an unsteady situation for Jonathan Stillpass and Shaylor Taetz.

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Both young men have been paramedics and firefighters for about seven years.

The fearless duo went to extreme lengths to get a patient to DePaul Hospital in wintry conditions, according to

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They were unaware that Carol Parks, a hospital nurse, was photographing their heroic actions.

Taetz told CNN he had picked up an extra shift and was 10 minutes into his coffee break when he and his colleague had to respond to an emergency call related to a traffic accident.

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The two noticed a metro bus with the driver on board. It had slid on ice and spun around in the opposite direction — an all-too common scenario at this time of year.

The ambulance itself also started to slide as they approached, but Stillpass managed to keep the vehicle on the road.

Though Taetz says the driver didn’t have life-threatening injuries, she was still shaken up — and needed to be transported to the hospital for evaluation.

That was just the beginning.

Both men salted the road, then turned the ambulance around enough to get back on the road.

It got worse from there.

When they took the exit for the hospital, they saw several cars slipping on the ice — so Stillpass then added chains to the wheels of the ambulance, hoping to gain traction.

No go.

Even with chains, they slid into a guardrail.

Yet they managed to get out once again.

Then, a little over a mile away from the hospital, they slid on ice again.

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Stillpass skillfully guided the ambulance away from a 15-foot drop into a small ravine on the left side of the road.

However, the vehicle was stuck, and the patient was clearly growing more  distressed.

“It wasn’t too far, so I said, “Let’s just huff it,’” Taetz told CNN.

What happened next was pretty extraordinary.

The fearless pair put extra traction on their boots to keep from slipping on the ice — and proceeded to push the patient about a mile uphill as she lay on the ambulance stretcher.

They said she was talking to them the whole time and very appreciative.

“You know how your parents say ‘uphill both ways’? It was like that,” Taetz joked.

He credits the ability to make the last-minute decision to the Maryland Heights community.

“Our equipment is top notch. We would never have been able to do that without the support of our community. We are never afraid to do anything extra for them.”

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

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