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Aurora Medical Center in Grafton Teams with Ozaukee County 911 Centers to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

December 07, 2015

Grafton – The Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, working collaboratively with the Village of Grafton and the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Department 911 dispatch centers, will roll out Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD), a new system to give dispatchers the ability to provide pre-arrival instructions, including CPR, to help improve patient survival rates during cardiac arrest.

As part of an Aurora Health Care supported campaign called When Minutes Matter, 911 dispatchers will now provide instructions to 911 callers involved with cardiac arrest scenarios as well as other serious and potentially life-threatening situations. The instruction includes resuscitation techniques including chest compressions, enabling citizens to provide initial support to cardiac arrest victims until first responders arrives.

According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, only 10.6 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive. Yet if cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques are provided by bystanders and an automated external defibrillator (AED) device is used to treat victims before emergency personnel arrives, survival rates increase to 38 percent.

Dr. Steven Zils, the Out-of-Hospital Medical Director and an emergency physician at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, has led the efforts to implement pre-arrival instructions in order to save more lives.

"We know that when an individual suffers cardiac arrest, each second is critical to their survival," said Dr. Zils. "The unfortunate reality is that many 911 dispatch centers across the country don't provide pre-arrival instructions, and as we began to investigate this here in Ozaukee County, it became a clear opportunity to work with our centers and first responder counterparts to save more lives."

Zils added "Updated guidelines were just released by the American Heart Association in October that encourages dispatchers to provide chest compression-only CPR instructions to callers for adults suspected of cardiac arrest."

The Village of Grafton Police Department and the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Department began a multi-week training program on October 5 to become proficient in the new EMD system. The training included classroom time and hands-on simulations to ensure they are fully prepared for providing pre-arrival instructions for all 911 calls.

"As a community, we want to do all we can to create a healthy, vibrant environment for residents," said James Brunnquell, Grafton Village Board President. "With the help of the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, we can now have more effective protocols in place to potentially help save lives."

The new system will officially be implemented on Dec 7.

"The new 911 dispatch protocol will greatly improve our team's ability to help people during cardiac arrest throughout the county," said Ozaukee County Sheriff James Johnson. "It's a great addition to our emergency response program."

Discussions are underway to implement similar training to EMS dispatch centers in Mequon and Cedarburg in the coming months, to ensure everyone across Ozaukee County is best prepared to help cardiac arrest victims.

The When Minutes Matter initiative is a multi-dimensional program being led by the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton and the Aurora Health Care Foundation. The $650,000 campaign includes the new EMD system, along with plans to purchase an EMS support vehicle that can travel throughout the county to provide immediate, physician-led, on-scene responses to critical situations; expansion of community CPR training to ensure more people in the community are comfortable with providing CPR in the event of an emergency; the purchase of five AEDs over the next three years for public places across Ozaukee county; and enhanced, pediatric simulation training for EMS providers.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin's most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, 159 clinics, 70 pharmacies and 30,000 amazing caregivers. As evidenced by more than 400 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account.

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Matt Braun
(414) 299-1547

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