On July 16, 2012, he was giving a consultation to a patient in his plastic surgery office on Atlanta Road just south of Smyrna, when members of his staff burst through the door to tell him there was an emergency. Jeffords ran outside and saw a man, with his arm nearly severed, on his knees between two flowerbeds.
“The first thing I thought was someone shot him and dumped him here,” Jeffords said.
Jeffords brought the man, identified as Filberto Huaracha in a television news report, into his office and applied a tourniquet to slow the bleeding. Jeffords recalls half his staff calling 911, while the others cleaned up the blood. He hooked the man up to an intravenous machine while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
While he estimates it only took 10 minutes for help to get there from the time he first saw Huaracha, Jeffords said he probably saved the man’s life.
“He was bleeding so rapidly, just gushing, without a tourniquet, he would have bled out before doctors got there,” Jeffords said.
Huaracha, who had been injured in a stone grinder accident at his construction job, was then transported to Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, the closest trauma center that could handle such an injury, where his arm was reattached and he recovered.
The story was reported by local news, and then Jeffords heard from patients who had seen it as far away as the United Kingdom. But state Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) said he heard about it after a small article in the alumni magazine for Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., where both he and Jeffords had graduated.
Coomer, the floor leader in the House, said he did a bit more research to learn about everything that happened that July day. He decided to honor Jeffords by inviting him to the Capitol this Tuesday, when a resolution will be introduced in Jeffords’s honor.
“I thought it was appropriate to recognize his actions and giving without expecting recognition,” Coomer said.
Jeffords’s representative, Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) is also expected to be on hand.
With health care a major issue in the United States, and some doctors concerned about malpractice, Coomer said Jeffords’s deed shows how doctors are willing to go the extra mile.
“I think this illustrates very clearly that, for most providers, the issue is not about how much money they can make, but it’s about helping people,” Coomer said. “That’s something that can get lost in health care policy.”
Jeffords, a 1977 South Cobb High School graduate who said he is the only Cobb native practicing plastic surgery in the county, said this wasn’t the first time he has helped an injured person who had shown up at his office. With a number of Spanish speakers in the Smyrna area, he said many do not know where the closest hospital is, and they come to Paramount Plastic Surgery because it is the closest doctor’s office they can find. In the past, he’s aided a boy who had lost his tongue and others who have lost fingers.
Jeffords said he is glad the injured don’t go to family practice physicians or psychiatrists in the area, because they lack the equipment he has to keep people alive.
“I’d do it all again,” he said. “You become a physician because you want to help people…I hope it never gets to the point where I’m afraid to help people because I’m afraid of the litigious nature of our society.”
Since helping him to safety, Jeffords said he hasn’t talked to Huaracha. Efforts were made to have him come to the ceremony at the Capitol, but no one was able to find Huaracha.