September 20, 2013 at 12:49 p.m.
Community members attending last week’s 9-11 Remembrance ceremony in Chisago City’s Moberg Park came to honor those whose lives were changed forever in the 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil.
Now called Patriot Day-- September 11 has become a time to collectively call attention to unselfish public service at all levels; and it was the perfect time and place to award two Lakes Area Police officers with Life Saving Awards.
Officer Tom Haller and Officer Chad Vanhorn received their commendations amidst applause from the 9-11 crowd last week.
Their exceptional response at the scene of a critical cardiac arrest incident last month in Chisago City would not go unrecognized.
Seconds add up quickly in responding to a cardiac crisis. Returning spontaneous circulation and getting the victim to a skilled care hospital needs to happen within a relatively brief timeframe to ensure the best outcome.
Emergency responders call it the Golden Hour. Heart muscle begins to die within 80 to 90 minutes after blood flow loss. The key is to get a cardiac catheter inserted through a specialized primary angioplasty done at a hospital, to restore blood flow. The hospital will also monitor the heart for any abnormal rhythm to see if muscle has been affected.
Divine intervention certainly deserves credit when time remains on the Golden Hour. But medical aid also must be delivered by responders who are clicking on all cylinders. Haller and Vanhorn, bolstered by their hours of training with EMS providers, literally became part of a well-oiled life saving machine.
In the month of August alone, Lakes Area Police officers had 52 medical calls, according to the department’s monthly service report. When officers drive up to an address on a “medical” they have no idea how it will play out.
A Lakes Region emergency medical services technician at the heart attack scene, wrote to Lakes Area Chief of Police Kevin Stenson, in an e mail, that, “The success of this patient....can be attributed to a lot of things; not the least of which was the competence, critical thinking and initiative of the police officers involved.”
The officers didn’t need to be asked to do anything, they moved as a team with the EMS anticipating what had to be done to transport the man up a flight of stairs.
An officer rode in the back of the rig and provided a necessary additional set of hands, while the other officer took the wheel (...and did a nice job, Schmidt added. She wasn’t tossed once over the victim speeding through turns.)
“The victim had six minutes remaining on the Golden Hour quality assurance clock when the catheter was inserted,” said Becky Schmidt, of Lakes Region EMS, and “...we could have easily lost those six minutes if not for the fact these two were thinking on their feet.”