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South Jordan Journal

SJ Fire And Rescue Honored For Saving A Life

Nov 21, 2014 09:56AM ● By Karen Holt Bennion

The South Jordan Fire and Rescue team receive Jordan Valley Hospital’s Great Save Award for their quick thinking in saving the life of a female heart attack patient. From left, Dr. R. Bart Johansen, emergency care physician, Dr. Konstantyn Szwajkun, cardiologist, Ryan Christensen, Curtis Evans, Chris Richards, Jon Stone, Brian Allred and Steven M. Anderson, CEO Jordan Valley Hospital.

By the time she became nauseous and turned pale at dinner, her family knew something was terribly wrong on that hot June 15 evening.  Even when she had a dull pain in her throat, the 51-year-old woman didn’t think she was having a heart attack. Only when South Jordan rescue workers arrived at her home did she realize the seriousness of her condition.

The woman (who asked that her name be kept private)  is alive and doing well at home now and is extremely grateful for those paramedics and firefighters who listened to their instincts and quickly knew what to do to save her life.

When they arrived on the scene, the crew immediately hooked her up to a portable 12-lead electrocardiogram.  They saw some disturbing signs on the monitor that alerted them to contact Jordan Valley Hospital to let physicians know they were bringing in a heart patient. 

Once at the hospital, physicians took over. An aspiration thrombectomy was performed and a stent was placed in her heart. The whole episode took under 81 minutes.

The  team, South Jordan Station #62’s fire and rescue unit, was honored at a press conference  breakfast at Jordan Valley on Oct. 21. They received the hospital’s “Great Save” award, which is given out each quarter to those with timely and sensitive responses.

At the award ceremony, Holly B. Burke, RN and EMS/state liaison, introduced the fire and rescue workers and expressed appreciation for their timeliness and keen sense of instinct.

“Those guys made the difference in the outcome of this patient,” she said. “We are proud to be partners with such a great fire department and incredible paramedics.”

A few years ago, Fire Chief Chris Evans approached administrators at Jordan Valley and asked to work with them in helping cardiac arrest patients get to the hospital quickly to an already prepared lab where physicians could take care of the patient in only minutes. 
Evans said he simply wanted to prevent cardiac arrests from turning into fatalities, and Jordan Valley was the closest hospital at the time to South Jordan.

By using a 12-lead EKG monitor, instead of the normal six-lead, rescue workers can detect a rise in a particular heart rhythm called a ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, or a “stemi.” They are able to call into the hospital and let them know about this type of attack.  This saves significant time, therefore offering the patient a better chance of recovery and, hopefully, saving the rest of the heart muscle.

 “I believe our partnership with South Jordan Fire and Rescue is the first in our valley,” Jordan Valley CEO Steven Anderson said. “These guys are able to make a diagnosis in the field and work with our hospital, which can get ready for the incoming patient.”

The local program of rescue workers working closely with the hospital’s emergency cardiac care unit is also recognized by the American Heart Association.

Evans and the others on his team thanked the hospital for the award but said that all they did was their job.  “We were glad to be able to help her and will be ready to help others in the same situation,” he said.