Honorees selected in 9-1-1 campaign


“Make the Right Call” submissions honor EMS workers while encouraging the use of 9-1-1

GREEN BAY — Eight compelling stories involving emergency medical service (EMS) personnel from Northeast Wisconsin have been selected for special recognition in Bellin Health’s Make the Right Call campaign.  The campaign, sponsored by Bellin Health and the Green Bay Packers, encouraged people to dial 9-1-1 for medical emergencies instead of driving themselves or others to the hospital.  It also encouraged Northeast Wisconsin residents to share their stories about making the right call. 

Forty submissions were received.  Eight stories, involving a total of 39 EMS workers, will be spotlighted in a special Lambeau Field Atrium exhibit to be displayed September 17 – October 22.  In addition, the EMS workers involved in these stories will represent the entire EMS community during a special tribute at the Green Bay Packers home opener versus the Buffalo Bills on September 19, 2010.

“The purpose of this effort was to create awareness of the dramatic impact that calling 9-1-1 can have on a person’s recovery or survival in an emergency medical situation,” said Andrea Werner, vice president, Heart and Vascular Center at Bellin Health. Werner points to the series of actions that take place when 9-1-1 is called. “Instructions given by the 9-1-1 operator, care on scene, care during transport and relaying information to the medical facility are just some of the reasons calling 9-1-1 can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.”

The submissions received were reviewed by a panel of hospital staff, community members and EMS workers.  “Every story was phenomenal and touching,” said Werner.  “Each was inspiring in the way they detailed the outstanding efforts of EMS personnel – be they from ambulance and rescue services, police or fire departments.”

The following stories have been selected to be part of the Lambeau Field Atrium exhibit:

• Oconto Falls Ambulance first responder Pat Spillane responded to a call of a man complaining of pain and shortness of breath. Moments later, the patient had a heart attack and slipped into unconsciousness.  Pat began CPR and soon the rescue squad arrived to assist, saving the man’s life.  If the patient and his wife had chosen to drive to seek medical attention, the results could have been disastrous.

• A man has his co-workers and Gold Cross and Brillion Ambulance to thank for their swift actions after falling to the floor at work when he suffered a cardiac arrest. His co-workers rushed to his aid, called 9-1-1, administered CPR and connected him to the employer’s on-site automated external defibrillator (AED). EMTs quickly arrived on the scene, took over CPR, restored his pulse and rushed the patient to the nearest medical facility to perform angioplasty and to place a stent, resulting in a full recovery.

• One woman learned that care starts with the 9-1-1 dispatcher after she called 9-1-1 when her husband became unconscious and unresponsive. The 9-1-1 operator instructed her to ease him down to the floor and guided her through CPR while dispatching emergency medical personnel to the scene. County Rescue Services and Viking Community Rescue Squad personnel arrived and worked tirelessly. Through their efforts, the man’s life was saved and the couple was able to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary together.

• A 13-year-old cross country runner will forever remember the efficient response of the Fond du Lac Fire Department.  Following cross county practice, the teen collapsed as he went into cardiac shock. The EMS crew delivered an electric shock to his heart using a defibrillator and CPR was administered to keep blood and oxygen flowing to his body. The boy was then rushed to a local hospital, where he was transported by helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. The EMS team continued to check on the teen while he was in the hospital, leaving him with a greater appreciation for life and for the life-saving work of EMS workers.

• State Trooper Joan Timm pulled over a vehicle for speeding only to discover the woman was rushing to seek medical attention for her husband, who was displaying symptoms of a stroke.  After radioing for assistance, Trooper Timm moved the man outside of the vehicle and onto the shoulder of the highway. She placed a device to restore a clear flow of air, in his throat and began to perform CPR. Upon the arrival of Gillett Area Ambulance, the patient was quickly secured and CPR continued en route to Shawano Medical Center. EMS professionals were able to regain a pulse and respirations, and the man began speaking to them as they arrived at the hospital.

• Sports fans and concertgoers pay more attention to the main attraction than to the EMS workers staffing events.  When a grandmother had a heart attack shortly after arriving at a concert in Green Bay, paramedics from Ashwaubenon Department of Public Safety and law enforcement officers staffing the event rushed to assist her and called for transport to the hospital while they performed life-saving assistance.

• While celebrating her son’s 50th wedding anniversary with her friends and family, a woman was feeling fatigued and short of breath.  After calling 9-1-1, paramedics from Green Bay Fire Department arrived within minutes, taking information and assessing the patient.  During transport, the woman became unresponsive and lost her pulse, but after four long minutes of painstaking effort, the crew was able to resuscitate her and save her life.

• Kiel Ambulance Service and Kiel Police Department’s care system worked as a team in order to beat the race against the clock when a husband’s pain in his chest and shoulders, and numbness in his hand, led his wife to call 9-1-1. Kiel Rescue and Police Department responded to the couple’s home minutes later. A 12-lead ECG test confirmed a heart attack and the test results were sent ahead to Calumet Medical Center to prepare hospital staff to receive the patient. During recovery, the surgeon said had he made it to surgery 10 minutes later, he may not have made it at all.

“Every story submitted was outstanding, which is why we’re stressing that although these eight stories were selected as representative of their profession – all EMS professionals deserve our thanks,” said Werner. 

The public is invited to view the Make the Right Call exhibit September 17 - October 22 in the Lambeau Field Atrium.