GARLAND — Kyle Cashwell’s life changed one fall day in 2014 and emergency and medical rescue personnel are using his near-death experience to learn and improve their own operations — with Cashwell’s help.
A production crew, as well as first responders from across Sampson County, are coordinating with Duke Life Flight to stage a re-enactment on Cashwell’s southern Sampson County property this Tuesday, with the purpose of documenting the course of Cashwell’s rescue and recovery.
“They want to show from one end to the other,” Cashwell said of the Duke-initiated effort. “They want to show the entire thing to the Duke staff.”
That will include a re-enactment portion, but also interviews with Cashwell and his family, as well as those who assisted him. Cashwell said many of the same people will participate Tuesday, including Cashwell, who said he is unsure of the capacity of his involvement. He heard about the possibility of such a re-enactment about a month ago and got the call Thursday that the final details had been worked out with Sampson EMS.
“All I know is that I’m going to be involved,” said Cashwell. “They have the same firefighters, deputies and EMS too.”
Cashwell said one Life Flight helicopter and up to four helicopters could also be involved in the activity. Life Flight will also utilize the same landing area behind the Garland Town Hall, Cashwell noted.
On Oct. 20, 2014, Kyle Cashwell was in a farming accident that took his leg and one of the arms he used to help countless others as a Sampson County paramedic. Cashwell was snapping corn in the field as part of his second job as a farmer. His wife Kristy had already left for work and their three children were in school. When the snapper got jammed, Cashwell disengaged and dismounted it in an effort to solve the problem. When the equipment jumped back into gear, it entangled Cashwell’s right arm and leg.
Cashwell was able to get to his phone and call for help and soon EMS, firefighters and law enforcement officers converged on the scene. Cashwell was whisked away by emergency personnel to Garland, where Duke Life Flight took him directly to the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Cashwell had numerous surgeries in the weeks and months that followed and ultimately lost his right arm and leg.
Along with showing the emergency side of a life-altering situation, the production also seeks to shed the light on improving treatment of patients following such events.
“They want to show what kind of effect has it had, the ups and downs, things they can look out for on the depression side,” said Cashwell. “They want to be able to highlight that so they can help the patient and their family.”
In the wake of Cashwell’s accident, the community rallied around his family, raising money through the sale of bracelets, signs, T-shirts and baked goods, as well as holding turkey shoots, tractor pulls, dances, cornhole tournaments, silent auctions and barbecue plate sales. In October 2015, a year after his accident, Cashwell stood in the Sampson Board of Commissioners meeting and accepted a plaque honoring his years of service to the county, from Feb. 13, 2008 to Aug. 31, 2015.
Today, he said he feels “excellent.”
“It was a roller-coaster for a while there, but I’m blessed,” said Cashwell, who uses a prosthetic leg to get around. “I might not have an arm and a leg but I’m alive. I still aggravate EMS, I still go to my children’s ballgames and I still work on the farm. I’m not going to complain a bit.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.