Officer’s actions help save man’s life

Published 11:55 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A U.S. military veteran and Pelham police officer helped buy “precious time” before paramedics could arrive on the scene of a December hunting accident at Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham police Capt. Larry Palmer said.


Pelham officer Marc Fridley, who was recently deployed to Iraq as a U.S. Army combat medic, was the first officer on the scene Dec. 12 after a man participating in a state park controlled deer hunt fell off a tree stand and accidentally shot himself in the chest with a handgun.

When Fridley arrived, the victim was suffering from a “pretty serious gunshot wound,” and was rapidly losing blood, Palmer said.

“He was able to take some measures during what they call the golden hour before medical personnel could get there,” Palmer said. “He gave the guy a better chance of survival.”

Palmer said Fridley was able to assess the victim’s vital signs, apply pressure to the gunshot wound and take other steps to keep the man from going into shock. Fridley treated the man until medical crews arrived on the scene and airlifted the victim to UAB Hospital.

In late December, Oak Mountain State Park Superintendent Mike Jeffreys said the victim was expected to make a full recovery.

Palmer said officers are only allowed to give limited medical treatment to victims before trained medical crews arrive on a scene, but he said Fridley’s actions could have meant the difference between life and death in the hunting accident.

“He is a very capable officer. What he can do he does well,” Palmer said. “He pretty much had the guy assessed by the time the medics got there, which allowed them to get the guy airlifted to the hospital quicker.

“We are proud to have him home (from Iraq) and with us again,” Palmer added. “He is a great officer.”