Aspirus Rhinelander Hospital Foundation Donates Lifesaving Equipment to Rhinelander FD

The Rhinelander Fire Department (RFD) has new life-saving technology thanks to a donation from the Aspirus Rhinelander Hospital Foundation.

The Foundation provided two modems for the Fire Department’s LifePak 15 Cardiac Monitors/Defibrillators and they allow the RFD to transmit 12-lead electrocardiograms (EKGs) obtained in the field to Aspirus Rhinelander Hospital or Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

With a nearly one-hour transport time from Rhinelander to Aspirus Wausau Hospital there is an increased need for accuracy. “When a patient suffers a heart attack (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI)), each minute means more heart muscle damage,” said Charlie Kotke, RN, Aspirus MedEvac Regional Manager. 

“Transmission of the 12-lead EKG can save approximately 20 minutes on average to activate the STEMI response, including ground or air transportation, to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for immediate intervention by the Cardiologist in the Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab) to open the blocked vessel and stop heart muscle damage,” said Michael Clark, MD, Aspirus MedEvac Medical Director. “These modems allow paramedics and emergency department physicians to collaboratively review the EKG and most importantly, EKG transmission allows for more timely and accurate identification of heart attacks in the field.”

Throughout the Aspirus Health system, there are initiatives to evaluate and improve the transport of patients via emergency medical services (EMS) to the most appropriate destination either through transport by 911 services directly to a specialty center or early activation of helicopter EMS to transport to the specialty center. “The ability to transmit EKG to the local hospital for review and confirm STEMI diagnosis helps to support this initiative,” added Dr. Clark.

“Transmitting 12-lead EKGs directly to our hospitals and providing early activation protocols will have a significant impact on those we serve in Rhinelander and the surrounding communities,” said Brian Tonnancour, Rhinelander Fire Chief. “We’re thankful to Aspirus Rhinelander Hospital for this generous gift.”   

“We want to utilize this technology to our advantage in the field to identify potential pre-hospital needs for our patients,” added Dan Bauer, Rhinelander Fire Department Assistant Chief. “This allows our paramedics and EMTs to triage suspected acute STEMI patients to the most appropriate hospital.”

The Rhinelander Fire Department responds to approximately 2,000 calls for service annually and EMS calls account for over 70% of the volume.