Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ambulance Serves As Hearse For Paramedic

Photo courtest of Shandrea Womack
Funeral services for Carmen Burnette, the Putnam County paramedic who died unexpectedly during routine back surgery last week, were held on Sunday. Her burial took place at Overton County Memorial Gardens. Burnette's ambulance, number 701, acted as the hearse carrying her body to its finaly resting place.  The emergency services community in Putnam and surrounding counties continues to mourn the loss of Burnette, who they say was well-known throughout the community for her work as a paramedic, an educator, and a friend.

"She was a wonderful person, and excellent worker," said Putnam County EMS Director Randy Porter. "She is going to be missed. We are all so sad about this."

Burnette died suddenly in Nashville on Tuesday evening following a corrective surgery to repair a work-related injury. She was already scheduled to have the surgery later this month, when there was a cancellation in the schedule allowing her to have the procedure done Tuesday.

"She had been having quite a bit of pain from her back problem, so she took the early appointment" states Porter.

Burnette's work began in Putnam County in 1998 as an emergency medical technician, then becoming a paramedic in 2000. In 2002 she became one of the first field training officers at Putnam County EMS. Her talent in teaching those new to the profession has proven invaluable over her many years of doing so. Through many hours of in-service teaching and quality assurance work, Burnette helped shape the way emergency care will be provided in the Upper Cumberland for decades to come. She also worked diligently in overseeing the public education of citizen's learning Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, for several
years.

"There are literally thousands of people who have learned CPR from her efforts in the classroom, or behind the scenes. There will be lives saved for years to come through her efforts with this program," said Porter.

A state official was quoted as saying "She exemplifies the highest standards of a first responder, always going above and beyond expectations to deliver excellent patient care ," as she was awarded the 2009 District IV Homeland Security Award. She leaves behind her husband and two sons.