Four of our employees, along with EMS Director Dr. Jeffrey Elder, were recognized as Heart Heroes at the annual American Heart Association (AHA) Heart and Soul Gala, which was held the evening of June 7th, 2014 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. This was a region-wide recognition of EMS providers who have made a life-saving difference in one instant each of STEMI, out of hospital cardiac arrest, and CVA. The crewmembers recognized showed an outstanding level of care provided when seconds truly meant the difference between life and death.
On July 28, 2013, paramedic Chris Martinez and EMT James Damioli responded to a 911 call at a private residence where they found a 44 year old male sitting on the floor in a back room presenting with altered mental status, slurred speech, incomprehensible words which rendered him a GCS of 13. According to bystanders, he had a history of hypertension and had been complaining of a “throbbing” headache approximately 1 hour prior to EMS being activated. The medics immediately recognized stroke-like symptoms, and rapidly extricated the patient from the house to initiate ALS treatment. Initial vital signs were a blood pressure of 192/98, heart rate of 100 bpm, respiratory rate of 18, CBG of 98 mg/dL, and a 12 Lead EKG at normal sinus rhythm. A focused neurological exam revealed that the patient presented with slurred speech, nystagmus, and weakness/facial droop to the right side. The crew administered oxygen via nasal cannula at 6 lpm and initiated two large bore IVs of normal saline in the bilateral forearms, set at a drip rate of TKO. The decision was made on scene to transport to the nearest appropriate ED, which was Ochsner. En route to the hospital, the patient began to vomit. His airway was then protected by the paramedic to ensure its patency. Because of the medics’ early recognition of stroke-like symptoms, a mere 13 minutes passed between initial patient contact and arrival at the ED. The ER staff at Ochsner was notified pre-arrival of a stroke activation, and worked rapidly to get the patient to CT, where it was discovered that the patient had suffered an ischemic stroke. He was given tPA, and treated aggressively throughout his care at Ochsner Hospital. He was released from the hospital after some time and survived his stroke neurologically intact at discharge.
On April 19, 2013, paramedics Joey Dembrun and Sam Rehage responded to a 47 year old male who had gone into cardiac arrest on the 13th green at the New Orleans Country Club. Per witnesses, the patient had collapsed and became unresponsive, pulseless, and apneic. CPR was initiated immediately, and an AED was applied. The patient was defibrillated 1 time with the AED, and upon EMS arrival was alert and talking. The patient had a past history of an aortic valve replacement. He was complaining of chest pain with palpitations and nausea. Initial vital signs were a blood pressure of 134/86, heart rate of 154 bpm, respiratory rate of 18, and CBG of 102 mg/dL. A 12 Lead EKG revealed that the patient was experiencing A-Fib with unifocal PVCs. ALS care was initiated by EMS medics as well as Dr. Elder. High flow oxygen was delivered via non-rebreather at 15 lpm, two large bore IVs of normal saline in the patient’s bilateral anticubitals. Treatments that the patient received while in the care of EMS were 324 mg of aspirin, 0.4mg of nitroglycerin sublingual, and 20 mg of Cardizem intravenously. The patient was then rapidly transported to East Jefferson Hospital, where he made a full recovery and was later discharged.