Letter: A little cardio followup
Critical Care Paramedic Eagle County Ambulance District
Vail, CO Colorado
Re. “Woman’s life was saved last Valentine’s” Vail Daily Feb. 14:
Hi, nice to have a follow up piece, and see how well Lynn is doing. My name is Graham Kane, and I’ve been with the Eagle County Ambulance District as a Critical Care Paramedic for almost 10 years. I was the attending paramedic for Lynn’s pre-hospital resuscitation, and also the lead Critical Care Transport Provider that transported her to Denver for tertiary care. As you reported, Lynn did sustain a Cardiac Arrest, but this was not as the result of a heart attack, but rather from a lethal dysrhythmia. That is why she was able to respond so favorably to the defibrillation provided by Eagle County Ambulance Paramedics. Vail Fire Department’s EMTs assisted with CPR, and packaging the patient for the short transport to the hospital.
Credit should go to Vail Fire and Emergency Services for assisting with the response, Vail Police Department for assisting with Lynn’s family and co-workers, and to Vail Valley Medical Center for assisting in her stabilization and preparation for transport. I worked on Lynn for about eight hours straight, with the help of these agencies and my co-workers, before we were able to deliver her to the Intensive Care Unit at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital. Our numbers vary some annually, but we have responded to the order of 30-50 cardiac arrests annually with a significant number having a return of spontaneous circulation in the field as the result of our advanced life-support efforts. This includes defibrillation and IV medications, as well as endotracheal intubation. As an aside, Flight for Life does provide some specialty care transport of patients from Vail Valley Medical Center, but I also think its important for valley residents and guests to know that the local ambulance service also provides Critical Care Ground Transport service in addition to 911 response. We have a very high level of training in this area, and attempt to ensure that patients do not have an untoward delay in transport when the helicopter is unavailable. The Flight for Life does provide service out of their Frisco base from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day during flyable weather, but the majority of the time it is unavailable. That’s why we seek to fill the gap with a similar level of ground-based service that has minimal travel delays due to weather.
Anyway, Lynn took more than ample opportunity to thank us in person. Despite the fact that we run many cardiac arrests each year, her case hit close to home with many of us, so it was especially nice to hear from her in person following her recovery. A year later it is great to see that she is gaining health and enjoying life. It gives meaning to our many long days and nights away from our families to see a patient continuing to enjoy their own life.
We wish her a long and happy marriage on her first anniversary.