First Responders Save A Starkville Woman’s Life


STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – An unknown allergy to a wasp sting almost took the life of a Starkville woman last month.

She says she’s alive today because of God and first responders.

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That one wasp sting put Latasha Ellis in the hospital for a month and a two days.

She spent over a week in ICU, discovered she’s deathly allergic to several types of insects, and also underwent thyroid surgery.

She was released from North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo last Tuesday and just days later, was able to meet the people who saved her life.

Ellis woke up early on the morning of August 2nd to get ready for work.

Around 3:30 AM, her 11-year old son found her unresponsive in the bathtub and called his grandmother.

“I came in like this and she was over like that and I said, ‘Tasha, Tasha!’ She couldn’t move and I said, ‘EJ, we need to try to get your mamma up.’ So, I turn back around and I said, ‘Well, let me go so I can call 911,” says Ellis’s mother, Emma Cooperwood.

Within minutes, Starkville firefighters were at the house with a Pafford EMS ambulance right behind them.

“Over the bathtub face first, not talking, not moving, not anything. The firemen helped us, you know, move her out of the bathroom because the bathroom was tee-tiny and then we go back to the truck and get all of our, the stretcher,” says Pafford EMT, She`Williams.

From there, Ellis was taken to Columbus to get on an AirCare helicopter bound for Tupelo.

Teams of first responders were able to get Ellis from her bathtub in Starkville, to North Mississippi Medical Center in just 45 minutes.

“A few minutes later, she would’ve been, they would’ve been planning a funeral, instead of planning a celebration with the firefighters,” says Starkville Fire Chief Charles Yarbrough.

“I thank God for them because they made the right decision that night because I could have been dead, like the doctors told me if they would have waited, I would have been brain-dead, so I thank God for them. I thank God for blessing me to be alive,” says Ellis.

Within days of being released from the hospital, Ellis finally got to meet her heroes.

It was a heartfelt “thank you” for the men and women who saved her life.

For these first responders, it was a rare opportunity to see the positive results of their efforts.

“We never expected her to be able to walk again, or really come see us, and so for her to be able to walk up here and shake our hands and hug her neck, we were very excited, thrilled to see her. It makes it worth what we do,” says Pafford Paramedic, Drew Steele.

“Grateful for me that I actually did get to meet her. Grateful for her that she, you know, she’s able to come through this and live a wonderful life with her kids, her family,” says Starkville Fireman Lt. Todd Palmer.

Ellis now has to keep an EpiPen and Benadryl with her at all times.