When Seconds Matter

Thursday, June 6, 2013
Terry Burdin receives his second Arkansas State Police Lifesaving Award. Burdin is shown here with ASP Col. Stan Witt (left) and Gov. Mike Beebe. (Photo provided)

In the eyes of a speeding motorist, Arkansas State Police Trooper First Class Terry Burdin of Rector is likely the last person on Earth one would want to see. When breaking laws, the flashing lights of Burdin's patrol car and his cool demeanor serve as reminders of why laws are in place. In the event of an emergency, however, there are few with Burdin's track record of success and compassion.

In a special ceremony held May 21 at Little Rock, Burdin joined other troopers in receiving deserved awards. Burdin received his second Lifesaving Award for his efforts in preventing the death of a Paragould man.

On April 26, 2012, Burdin received a call reporting shots fired at a Paragould address. Prior to Burdin's arrival, Trooper First Class Clinton Eubanks was called to the same residence at the request of the Paragould Police Department. Upon arrival, Trooper Eubanks was met by the homeowner who told the officer the site had just been robbed and the suspect was fleeing on foot and armed with a shotgun. Eubanks contacted ASP Troop C dispatch, and then located the suspect. The suspect, appearing distraught, made suicide threats as Eubanks and other law enforcement officers attempted to calm the suspect. As more personnel arrived, the suspect turned the shotgun on himself, shooting his left arm and causing severe damage.

Burdin arrived at the scene within moments of the shooting. Grabbing his medical bag, he ran to the injured man. While assessing the injuries, Trooper Burdin found a severed arterial bleed in the suspect's left armpit. At this time, the injured man was not responding and no pulse could be found. Burdin used quick clot and packed the area around the bleed and established an oral airway to allow the fallen man to resume breathing.

Because of Burdin's quick response, the injured man was able to be airlifted to the Med Center in Memphis. Though the suspect lost his arm, his life was saved by Burdin's actions.

Burdin also received the Lifesaving Award in 2007 when his training saved the life of an eight-month-old child. The child suffered a seizure while being fed by his mother. Panicked, the young woman fortunately saw Burdin's car nearby and ran to him, thrusting the small child at the trooper as she tried to explain what happened. Burdin cleared the child's airway and resuscitated the baby at the scene. Ambulances arrived at the rural location 15 minutes later, which likely would have been too late to save the child. Thanks to Burdin's reaction and training, the child was fine by the time the crew arrived.

Burdin has experience as an Emergency Medical Technician, receiving his training before joining the National Guard in 1996. Later, he was certified as a U.S. Army Combat Lifesaver and served two tours in Iraq.

When asked about his experiences, Burdin shrugs off any attempt to commend his efforts, staying humble.

"I was just doing my job and what I know how to do," he said. "I was just in the right place at the right time."

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