Carilion Clinic welcomes Haitian Flight EMT for crew exchange

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) There's a special visitor in Southwest Virginia this month riding along with crews in the sky. Carilion Clinic's Life-Guard program is hosting a Haitian Fight Medic.

Carilion Clinic Life-Guard

This is the first time Carilion Clinic has ever hosted a foreigner for its air ambulance program, and it's going exceptionally well.

In between the hard work, there's always time for a little bit of fun.
Claudel Gedeon bowled for the first time ever Sunday. While he did pretty well, he won't be quitting his day job as a flight EMT.

"I am here just to get more knowledge, more experience to bring back home," Haitian Flight EMT Claudel Gedeon said.

Back home to the young Haiti Air Ambulance program. Carilion partners with them for this unique crew exchange.

"They already have had a lot of the good safety training that anybody has in the United States, what they don't have as much of is the clinical experience," Carilion Clinic Life-Guard Program Director Susan Smith said.

So for more than a week, it's a packed schedule of clinical training. Night flights, which Haiti Air Ambulance doesn't do, and quick dispatch are the big differences.

"I think if we do the same thing in my country, that's going to be better you know, that's an improvement," Gedeon said. "The most important thing is flying at night. So we don't do that in Haiti it's not a 24 hour program, only sunrise to sunset. So I've experienced it in Roanoke for the first time."

Life-Guard sent three people to Haiti including flight nurse Adam Berger. They found some different challenges but realized they're all connected by their passion to help.

"These are people that have not as much experience, have great equipment, but really the overwhelming thing is the dedication to the program and kind of the, you know their heartfelt approach to taking care of their folks," Berger said.

And it's these experiences that bring the global air ambulance family home. Whether it's a hockey game, first time seeing snow, or a donut - on the clock they all work toward the same goal.

"I really love it so it's really a good experience," Gedeon said.

Life-Guard will be welcoming two more foreign trainees later this year.