In mid-July, REMSA Health sent a delegation to the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Navigator conference. Throughout the four-day event, our representatives taught conference sessions, participated in mentoring sessions, met with IAED leadership and earned continuing education credits.
REMSA Health’s Regional Emergency Communications Center was recognized for its 20 continuous years as an Accredited Center of Excellence. Also, during the event REMSA Health’s Executive Director of Integrated Healthcare, Adam Heinz was installed as a member of the board of accreditation.
We are especially proud that four of our medical dispatchers were recognized during the conference for their nomination as dispatcher of the year: Ashley Leone, Andrew Mendenhall, Will Richeson and Marcy Kearns. In particular, Marcy who works as a Communications Specialist, Quality Assurance and Education Training Coordinator was also highlighted during an Emergency Dispatch Quality Masterclass session given by Brian Dale, Associate Director of Medical Control and Quality Processes at the IAED.
In the call that was submitted as part of her nomination, the caller indicates to Marcy that the patient might have fallen and hit his head as he is unconscious and not breathing – except for that he occasionally makes a snoring sound. Marcy immediately recognizes this as agonal breathing – a clear indication that the patient is not getting enough oxygen and is typically due to a stroke or cardiac arrest. She is calm and reassuring to the caller, while helping him understand that what he was hearing was not effective breathing. She immediately begins giving him instructions on how to perform chest compressions. She is counting with him to ensure the proper rate; when he slows down, she gently encourages him to go a little faster, to match her pace. She remains on the line for more than six minutes, giving instructions and updating him on the approaching paramedic unit. The patient experienced a good outcome and was later discharged from the hospital.
This call serves as an outstanding example of the importance of the medical training – either as AEMTs or paramedics – that all of REMSA Health’s dispatchers have. While Marcy was following an international protocol, it was her medical training that made the difference for this patient. When she heard the description of the snoring, she knew that was a sign of something serious. In addition to her clinical expertise, Marcy handles the situation with compassion and authority.
Marcy has worked in emergency medical services for more than 32 years. About working in medical dispatch she says, “It’s important to me that people who call 9-1-1 for a medical emergency know that there is someone on this end that really does care about them. Knowing that I did all I could do for them – even if there isn’t a positive outcome – will matter to someone.”