The City of Hazelwood is joining other local communities and medical personnel in publicizing safety and honoring the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “front line.”
In 1974, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) was instrumental in getting President Gerald Ford to sign a proclamation declaring the week of November 3 to 10 as the first “National Emergency Medical Services Week.” This annual observance continued for the next four years until it was reinstituted by ACEP in 1982 and moved to the month of September.
In 1992, EMS Week was again moved to the third week in May. The rationale for this decision rested on the concern some had about having EMS Week right before Fire Prevention Week in October. They felt having both of them so close together hurt the effectiveness of both national public safety observances. So EMS Week was moved to May.
This year’s theme is “EMS: One Mission, One Team.” The purpose is to recognize the tremendous role that EMS practitioners make to improve the quality of life in communities across the nation. The around-the-clock dedication to providing emergency medical care is evident with one statistic: more than 36 million patients were cared for by EMS professionals in 2011 alone.
“The members of Hazelwood’s emergency medical services team engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills,” Hazelwood Fire Chief Dave Radel said. “Our residents benefit daily from the knowledge and skills of these highly trained individuals who are on call at a moment’s notice to perform extraordinary feats to save the life of another human being.”
Like many ambulance services in St. Louis County, Hazelwood Fire Department’s Ambulance 4127 runs hundreds of calls, many of which are life threatening. When a call for a possible heart attack is received, the odds of a patient making it to the hospital in time to stop it has dramatically improved. A combination of the firefighter/paramedics’ exceptional EMS skills and their use of new, state-of-the-art EKG heart monitors can be identified as contributing factors, according to recent quality care checks performed by SSM DePaul Hospital’s EMS specialists.
At 9:30 am on the morning of April 10, the HFD received an Emergency 911 call of a possible heart attack in process involving a 69-year-old patient. The crew of Ambulance 4127 responded to the scene, assessed the patient, attached the EKG heart monitor, and transmitted the monitor information to SSM DePaul’s ER in just 15 minutes. This transmission was accomplished using the most sophisticated technology available to emergency medical services today. Mi-fi/wi-fi technology surpasses even the recent Bluetooth equipment in speed and reliability.
This rapid assessment by Hazelwood’s frefighter/paramedics in the field and the information transmitted to ER medical doctors made it possible for the hospital’s cath lab to be activated well before the patient’s arrival. Twenty-three minutes later, the patient was in the cath lab having balloon angioplasty and stents put in to open up a fully blocked artery, causing the heart attack to stop.
SSM DePaul keeps track of “door to balloon” (D2B) time which; in this case was only 34 minutes. This means it only took them about a half-hour to arrive at the patient’s front door and transport him to the hospital where he was immediately taken into surgery. “Prior to our capability with the new equipment, this time average was well over an hour. In the EMS field, this is referred to as the ‘Golden Hour’ and the major difference between life and death,” Chief Radel noted.
This is a clear demonstration of the outstanding service HFD firefighter/paramedics can provide for local residents utilizing the technological capability of the new EKG heart monitors approved by City Council members last year.