Georgia House to honor Cobb doctor for saving man’s life
by Geoff Folsom
February 11, 2013 12:00 AM | 7493 views | 7 7 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(MDJ Staff/Laura Moon)
(MDJ Staff/Laura Moon)
Dr. Keith Jeffords still calls it the “craziest day.”

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.
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February 11, 2013
What a fine example Dr. Jeffords is to all of society. If more people were like Dr. Jeffords, the world would be a better place. And a homegrown Cobb County boy to boot! You make me proud, Dr. Jeffords. Just proud there are still people like you left in the world. Enjoy your big day. You deserve the recognition and much, much more. Oh, and it is quite obvious you have selected a first-class staff also.
Cobb Citizen
February 11, 2013
Please don't minimize in your own mind what the doctor did because he "saved a life." Does it matter what he does for his profession? I'd argue no.

Yes, police, firefighters, paramedics, and many others in the professional emergency services fields do this day in and day out, but that doesn't lessen the importance of "saving a life" when they do it. We all are ecstatic for helping to "save a life" when it happens, regardless of who does the life saving.

The point is, that person's life is saved and can live to see another day, so do you think they care about "who" saved their life?

I'm in the military and have police experience too. We (military, police, firefighters, paramedics, etc.) tend to minimize what we do when it positively impacts someone's life because those of us who are humbled by life know in our heart and mind that we did something good, but are quick to remark "it's my job" to avoid unwanted extra attention and notariety.

So, try your best to lighten up and appreciate that "a life was saved."
Just Wait
February 11, 2013
“The first thing I thought was someone shot him and dumped him here.” What kind of area do you doctor in?

Be Careful
February 11, 2013
I have to ask a question.

Granted, a doctor in an office usually doesn't get involved in emergency situations like that. But, he IS a doctor and trained to act.

Why should he be honored?

Firefighters and ambulance crews do this sort of thing every day, day in and day out, shift after shift.

Emergency room doctors do the same thing day in and day out.

Now, if this were some ordinary joe citizen, it would be a big deal. But a doctor? I just don't get it.

Harry Hagan
February 11, 2013
Bravos galore to Dr. Jeffords! I had the great pleasure of meeting this wonderful and brilliant man this past summer. He is the very personification of the medical scientist ideal:caring, attentive, and awesomely bright!

February 11, 2013
How pitiful!
Virginia Floyd
February 16, 2013
I've known Keith Jeffords all his life....he is exactly how you describe him: caring, attentive and always trying to help someone less fortunate than himself....he was this way as a child & in growing up. He is most deserving of this recognition. I pray that we could have more stories of heroism published in our news instead of so much violence......maybe others would be inspired to live a life of a servant to our fellowman. My thanks to all newspapers, radio & TV stations, & to Mr Coomer and others for reminding us that God still works in the hearts of man and God's man can and will respond when a need arises.
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