These superheroes drive an ambulance

EMSWeekBlogRTFImageSomeone you love is having a stroke. You call 911. The squad takes him to the emergency department, where he’s stabilized, treated, maybe admitted to the hospital, then released to go home.

The happy ending to this story began with the quick arrival and action of the emergency medical services (EMS) staff in your community. EMS are veterans at quickly assessing conditions, making decisions and getting people who need more serious care to the hospital, whether by ambulance or helicopter. Not only do they need to arrive quickly, EMS staff have to think quickly to ensure the best outcomes for their patients.

Especially during national EMS week in May, all of us here at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center salute EMS first responders whose expertise and care make them an integral partner to our care.

Saluting the Crooksville EMS

Every day, EMS make life-saving decisions. Here's one of the thousands of stories that happen every month:

A 911 call alerted the Crooksville Fire Department in Perry County, Ohio, to a possible stroke in progress. A wife called the squad after the right side of her 62-year-old husband’s face drooped, he became weak on his right and was unable to speak. Within 10 minutes, an EMS crew was at their house, assessing him and taking his vital signs, conferring with his wife and beginning to treat him for a possible stroke.

What they found was the man had a history of heart problems – an irregular heartbeat, which made him a high risk for stroke. He took the drug Coumadin, which can treat and prevent blood clots. Because of the Coumadin, though, he likely was not a candidate for treatment with rtPA, the “clot-busting” medication given at most hospitals to treat a stroke. This ruled out transporting him to the closest hospital – 30 minutes away – which only offered rtPA.

This patient needed more specialized stroke care immediately. To expedite transport to a nationally designated Comprehensive Stroke Center, one capable of treatments more advanced than rtPA – in this case Ohio State – the EMS crew called for a helicopter. Time was of the essence.

MedFlight got the man to Ohio State in 24 minutes, where emergency surgery was performed to remove a blood clot from his brain. The patient is recovering and doing well.

Saluting all EMS crews

We celebrate not only the Crooksville Fire Department and MedFlight, but all EMS providers who care for patients and make lifesaving decisions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every week of the year.

The next time you see a first responder in the grocery store, at the park or inspecting fire equipment in your office building or school, let them know how much you appreciate everything they do to keep your community safe.

EMS teams, we thank you for all you do!

Thank an EMS worker on social media by using #EMSWeek.

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