Twins Train to Save Lives
Posted July 26, 2007 6:45 p.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2007 8:40 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — “Two heads are better than one,” the saying goes. That's especially true for identical twins Raquel and Raven Hutto, who are helping each other through school to become paramedics.
The 20-year-old siblings will graduate from Wake Tech's Emergency Medical Services program on Friday. The program is two intense years of training that prepares students to save lives.
Being twins and best friends has helped the sisters excel both in the classroom and in the field, but it has also caused some confusion when they are on the job as EMT intermediates.
"There is a little confusion, especially when we're in the same uniform,” Raquel said.
After 16 weeks of training, students are qualified to serve at EMTs, or emergency medical technicians. After another 16 weeks, they're called EMT intermediates. But they're not paramedics until they obtain their two-year associate degrees.
Raquel was the first to choose EMS training at Wake Tech. She begged Raven to follow.
"And I was like, OK, I'll try that," Raven said. "And so we got here and I just fell absolutely in love with it."
"Yeah, and she's almost better than I am,” Raquel said.
After two years of training in the classroom and in the field, they've learned it takes a team to save a life.
"We're like family in EMS. That's what I really like," Raven said.
In one exam before graduation, EMS students face different and often unusual scenarios of cardiac arrest.
A team of students will trade responsibilities as the team leader. One will monitor the airway while another establishes an intravenous line and give medications when needed. Another team member is ready with a heart defibrillator while yet another performs chest compressions.
The last team member keeps track of the time that every action is performed. The team members respond to all kinds of emergency medical situations, but a heart attack is what gets paramedics' blood pumping.
"It's the one thing that we can do something about that we can't do any worse than the hospital," Raquel said. "We own this. And Wake Tech drills how to do this in our head."
Bart Lineback, the Wake Tech instructor and head of the EMS department does the drilling. Raquel and Raven have helped make this class special, he said.
"They look after their patients’ best interests above and beyond what is expected,” he said. “They're very competitive, and so that raises the bar a little bit for them and for their peers.”
The Hutto sisters are one of two sets of twins who will graduate on July 27. They are among more than 1,000 graduates of Wake Tech who will receive their associate degrees at the RBC Center that night.