How you can help improve cardiac arrest survival rates in Milwaukee County

Saving lives is a team effort.

“When you think about providing emergency care to a community, especially when it comes to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, it requires coordination of a lot of entities to have a successful outcome,” says M. Riccardo Colella, DO, MPH, Medical Director for the Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System.

Dr. Colella helps to make sure first responders in Milwaukee County are prepared for an emergency, no matter where that emergency happens, and no matter to which hospital the patient is transported. When it comes to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA, they have their work cut out for them.

“The national odds of survival, in the community, are about one in ten. Survival from SCA with good neurologic recovery hinges on the timing and quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, and other resuscitation provided by EMS,” Dr. Colella explains.

Making the job even more difficult for first responders is having to perform lifesaving chest compressions while in a moving vehicle, if the patient is being transported to a hospital. It can create fatigue and inconsistency in quality. That’s why Aurora Health Care Foundation is aiming to purchase two automated CPR devices, one for the South Milwaukee Fire Department, and one for the Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore Emergency Department. These devices help provide more effective chest compressions for a longer period of time, and will free up EMS providers to do other necessary tasks involved in that patient’s care.

“Even for providers who are well-trained, CPR is an aerobic activity, the quality will decrease over time. This machine allows for continuation in quality chest compressions and helps provide a bridge from the field to the hospital when needed,” Dr. Colella says.

Yvette stands outside the emergency department with several colleagues at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore. (L-R) Jodie Beidatsch, RN, clinical nurse specialist, Yvette Karweik, RN, manager of emergency services, Andrew Surges, emergency service technician, Danielle Dietz, RN, and Julie Cieminski, health unit coordinator.

“We’re all on the same team; we all want that patient to go home to his or her family,” says Yvette Karweiz, the manager of emergency services and trauma coordinator at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore. “These devices have shown to provide high quality chest compressions while freeing up rescuers to focus on other life-saving tasks, therefore, helping to improve outcomes for our patients.”

You can join the team of first responders by making a gift in support of this effort. Please click here to donate.


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