Pediatric Patient Reunites with First Responders


Teams assist in lifesaving care to patient experiencing severe allergic reaction

DESERT CENTER, CA – March 30, 2024 – This morning, 10-year-old Logan Sauceda and his family met at Riverside County Fire Department’s Lake Tamarisk Fire Station 49 to reunite and show appreciation to the emergency medical service (EMS) teams who helped save his life following a near-deadly allergic reaction Sauceda experienced last month. Sauceda reunited with the Firefighters from CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department, Fire Communications Dispatchers, Mercy Air’s critical care flight team, and paramedics from AMR.

On Feb. 17, Logan was camping with his family in the Little Chuckwalla Mountains Wilderness, and while rockhounding, began to feel unwell. Thinking he was dehydrated, Logan was given water and taken back to the car to rest. Shortly after, Logan explained he was feeling itchy and could hear his heart in his head laid down to take a nap. It was then, his father Alberto Sauceda realized he would need immediate medical attention. 

“I thought he was sleeping until I saw him shaking violently under the blanket, and then he just stopped shaking. He was unresponsive,” said Alberto. “He suffered a seizure and at the time, I didn’t know he went into cardiac arrest. When I began CPR, Logan’s grandfather called 911 and drove us to the main road so EMS could find us.” 

Due to the remote and very rural location of where Logan was, Alberto conducted CPR for more than 30 minutes with the help of Riverside County Fire Department’s Fire Communications Dispatcher Jennifer Jones before paramedics could arrive on scene.

“If it wasn’t for our fire communications dispatcher, who stayed on the line until our arrival, and the paramedics from Riverside County Fire Engine 49, the outcome would have been different,” said Fire Captain Scott Burnham. “I credit Logans’ dad and grandfather for remaining calm and following the directions from the Command Center Dispatcher with administering CPR and driving to a location which allowed Riverside County Fire Engine 49 to locate the patient.”

Once stabilized by paramedics, given the severity of Logan’s condition and needing immediate higher care — which was more than two hours away — Mercy Air 27 out of El Centro was dispatched. In transit to Desert Regional Medical Center, Logan had two more seizures and one cardiac crash.

“This is the type of call that we train and prepare for regularly, but hope we never actually have to respond to,” said Mercy Air Flight Nurse Nick Grindeland. “The ground EMS and fire personnel did a great job of stabilizing him within their scope until we arrived. He remained very critical throughout the initial flight to the hospital and required several high-level interventions and procedures during the flight.”

By the time Alberto arrived at the hospital, the medical team prepared both him and his wife for the worst as they were having a difficult time stabilizing Logan’s blood pressure. The hospital medical team recognized Logan needed further, specialized care and called upon Mercy Air 27 to provide interfacility transport to Loma Linda University Medical Center. By the grace of a miracle, less than a week later, Logan recovered enough to be discharged and walk out of the hospital by himself.

While still inconclusive, it was deduced that Logan experienced a severe food allergy reaction. The family knew Logan had an allergy to coconut, but the allergy never presented as severe. The morning of Logan’s medical event, the cooking spray used for breakfast contained coconut. 

“In the midst of adversity, where hope seemed distant, the courage of the fire department dispatchers with the determination of the firefighters, paramedics, nurses, pilots, and doctors forged a lifeline,” said Division Chief Richard Tovar. “Our heartfelt gratitude extends to the numerous agencies involved in bringing Logan home.”

Logan’s incredible recovery is credited to the immense coordinated effort of the CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department, Mercy Air, and hospital teams. 

“I’m 100 percent sure without you all, we wouldn’t be here today to celebrate Logan’s recovery. You all are our heroes,” said Alberto. “Thank you from the bottom of my and all of my family’s hearts for saving the life of my son that day.” 

Pictures of Logan’s recovery and reunion photos can be viewed here.