Combat Medic Training Helps in Serious Accident

Timing and training make a big difference

Easton, Maryland, UNITED STATES


Easton, Md, Nov. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

It was terribly unfortunate when a tree removal technician became entangled in front of Gary Skirka’s neighbor’s home in Easton, Maryland. But it was very fortunate for that man that Gary had the right training to respond quickly and effectively.

Mr. Skirka is a Qlarant Program Manager and also a Registered Nurse with Army Combat Medic training. He was working from home when the horrible accident occurred. He credits his training, along with the support of his wife Meredith (also a Nurse and former Army Medic) and neighbors, for his ability to provide critical care for the two people who were injured. 

Up until that awful moment, however, it was just another typical day in the neighborhood for Gary.

“We have had a massive amount of tree work going on due to the storms this summer,” he said. “We personally lost two big Sugar Maple trees recently and the tree crews had been here on three different occasions.”

As the tree removal team worked outside, Gary was on a work call when he heard a horrific grinding noise and screaming. Rushing outside, he first found his wife and daughter with “horrified looks” on their faces. Then he saw the full extent of the accident.

“I saw a woman hunched over in the bucket with a man wailing hysterically and a man on the ground near the business-end of the shredder with a rope tangled around him,” Gary remembers.  Drawing from his extensive training, Gary assessed the serious injuries and snapped into action. “We have multiple trauma kits around the house,” he said, “but I called for my wife to get me towels.”

Gary gently applied the towels to stanch the bleeding. “The injury was terrible,” he said, “but it was actually better that expected.” Gary secured the man’s neck and, with his wife and two neighbors’ assistance, moved him from the machinery. “My wife comforted the man and calmed him by praying with him,” Gary said.

Fortunately, another neighbor had called 911, and an ambulance soon arrived.

He then turned his attention to the injured woman in the bucket. “She had a serious gash from the rope,” according to Gary. While caring for the woman, he also had to help calm the traumatized manager of tree removal crew.

Despite the scene they found that day outside their house, Gary and his wife were able to fall back on their medical and military training to keep an already terrible situation from worsening.

Gary and Meredith enlisted in the Army and entered the nurse training program together. “In order to progress into the program, you have to be a qualified Combat Medic,” said Gary.  

Meredith left the Army and Gary moved the family back home to the Eastern Shore. He commuted to DC until he realized that he was missing out on important life events and left the Army in 2004.

Gary joined Qlarant in 2013, working on the Medicaid Integrity Contractor (MIC) contract. He then moved to the Maryland Medical Assistance (MDMA) contract, which aligns with his experience in the insurance industry.

Currently, Gary is the Delaware Subject Matter Expert and works in the Unified Program Integrity Contractor Western Jurisdiction (UPIC W) contract.

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Gary Skirka used his combat training skills to save others in a serious accident

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