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EMS Corner
By Shelley Iverson,
Mohall Ambulance Service

On May 18th and 19th, I attended the North Dakota Stroke and Cardiac System Conference in Bismarck, ND.

On May 18th, the conference was devoted to Stroke care. The ND Stroke Coordinators from the various regions, presented stroke case studies from their respective areas, which included the 911 response, the protocols followed, the treatment they received en route to the hospitals, the treatment they received at the hospitals, and the outcome of each patient presented. We then heard from a stroke survivor. He told about how his symptoms began, the steps taken from calling 911, to the time of his discharge from the hospital, his rehab, and to how his recovery is today. He is experiencing no deficiencies. This case, and all the others we heard about, serve as a reminder to all of us how important it is to call for an ambulance (911) as soon as possible if we are experiencing any stroke symptoms.

We then got an update on Acute Management of Stroke, Improving the Quality of Care in Acute Ischemic Stroke, and we heard from a Hypertension Panel which discussed the ins and outs of hypertension in diagnosing stroke. The panel included Dr. Joshua Wynne, Dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dr. Richard Howard, Interventional Cardiologist with Sanford Health in Bismarck, June Herman, VP of Advocacy for the American Heart Association, and Cheri Kiefer, RN RD Hypertension Management Coordinator with North Dakota Dept. of Health.

On May 19th we focused on the ND Cardiac Care System. First there was a presentation about Understanding STEMI Guidelines and Protocol Problems, presented by Richard Mulivan, Clinical Pharmacist with Essentia Health, and then an Evaluation of the ND Cardiac System presented by Ralph Renger PhD, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Then Dr. Jeffrey Sather MD, Chief of Medicine, Trinity Health, and ND State EMS Medical Director, presented Chest Pain but not a STEMI, which was a presentation about what other medical problems could cause chest pain, and how EMS and ER personnel could and should care for a patient with chest pain, but an ECG does not show a STEMI (heart attack). Dr. Thomas Haldis, DO, an Interventional Cardiologist with Sanford in Fargo presented “Non-STEMI Does not Equal Non-Urgent”. This presentation focused on care for other possible heart problems that can occur, and other types of heart test and treatments that need to be performed by EMS and ER personnel.

This conference was very eye-opening in many ways, and I am very glad that I had the opportunity to attend this conference. I learned more than I realized I would, and it reinforced the training that we as an ambulance service receive every month. This conference is put on every year and this is the third one I have attended, and I have realized that the conference has improved each year, and the more information we as EMS receive, the more we can offer our patients and our communities.

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