“My husband just collapsed; I think he had a stroke. David, wake up! David?”
That’s how Patricia Hallam’s seven minute 911 call began on September 15. Her 64-year-old husband, David, had collapsed in the driveway of their home in Saukville.
L-R: Dr. Steven Zils, Patricia and David Hallam. Dr Zils is the medical director for the new EMD system that helped Patricia save her husband’s life.
But help was on the other line, thanks to Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) software, which was funded by donors to Aurora Health Care Foundation’s When Minutes Matter campaign in Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties. The software helped Ozaukee County Sheriff Dispatcher Michael Eibs talk Patricia through CPR while she waited for an ambulance to arrive.
“Just stay on the line and I’ll tell you exactly what to do next,” he said.
Cool, calm and collected
Not only was Michael able to give Patricia instructions, he also made sure she kept her cool while performing chest compressions on David.
“How he kept her calm during the whole situation, I’m really pleased with that,” said David at a recent news conference, where Patricia received an award from the Sheriff’s Office for her bravery. “I’m pleased to be here,” he added.
Patricia received an award for her bravery from Ozaukee County Sheriff James Johnson.
David is alive and well today because of Patricia, Dispatcher Michael Eibs, the first responders who rushed to their house and donors like you who made EMD a reality.
“We would just like to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all the donors who provided money for this program,” said Patricia. “And we are so thankful to all the dispatchers, EMTs, first responders and police officers for their part in saving David’s life. We are eternally grateful to each one of them.”
Instant success in Sheboygan County
The software has been in place in Ozaukee County since February 2016. It was implemented in Sheboygan County on October 9 of this year, when it helped save a life within minutes. A 911 call came in for a worker who had gotten her arm stuck in machine. The call came in so quickly, in fact, that some dispatchers thought it was a test.
“Not two minutes after (the software was switched on), the 911 call came in and the supervisor, to her credit, wanted to be the first one and took the call,” Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Lt. Kristine DeBlaey told the Sheboygan Press. “We heard her say ‘She got an arm caught in a machine,’ and the whole room went dead quiet. We heard her start giving instructions, and we realized it was real.”
That wasn’t the only life dispatchers helped save the first day EMD went live. There were also calls for an injury accident, a gunshot wound and a pregnant woman having a seizure.
Every second counts
The When Minutes Matter campaign raised $550,000, including a $125,000 gift from Acuity Insurance, to provide more people in the community with lifesaving tools and empower them to act in emergency situations. Nearly 80% of Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties’ EMS responders are volunteers or paid-on-call, and a vast majority of the counties are rural. As a result, it takes an average of 5-10 minutes for a first responder to arrive to an emergency — sometimes double the national average. And the time that lapses between a 911 call and when first responders typically arrive is critical to the health and outcome of the patient.
“When suffering from life-threatening conditions, rather than have your medical care start when the paramedics show up, your medical care is going to start as soon as you call 911,” said Steven Zils, MD, Aurora physician and medical director for the new dispatch system.
How you can help
You can still make a gift to this lifesaving campaign. To learn more, please click here.