SHEBOYGAN — A new emergency response system is being credited with helping save a Sheboygan woman’s life and a dispatcher was recognized for her work.
In October 2017, the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office worked alongside Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center to implement the Medical Priority Dispatch System in an effort to improve call-taking among its emergency dispatchers.
The system utilizes a proven set of essential questions to determine the appropriate response emergency dispatchers should send to those in need. The system also guides the emergency dispatchers in providing step-by-step instructions for callers and victims while they wait for responders to arrive. These pre-arrival instructions are critical to victims’ safety and play a key role in rendering aid.
For Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office, the Medical Priority Dispatch System recently helped save a life of 47-year-old Sharon Zielke who was in full cardiac arrest. The woman’s boyfriend called 911, and dispatcher Chris Damkot instructed the man how to perform CPR on his girlfriend. The efforts were successful, as the woman was released from the hospital with 100 percent cognitive ability intact.
The MPDS allows callers and other bystanders to intervene in serious medical situations, thanks to the guidance of highly trained emergency dispatchers. These research-based protocols help eliminate the helpless feeling callers could otherwise feel as they wait for paramedics to come on the scene of the incident.
“Dispatchers are no longer the conduit dispatching resources,” said Lt. Kristy De Blaey, communications manager with the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office. “They are the people providing the first level of emergency care through their medical instructions. The dispatchers are a vital link, directly involved in the life of the patient. They are making a difference in lives. I have witnessed not just the medical impact but the emotional impact of the instructions. When callers hear instructions from a 911 dispatcher, they are calmer and more focused in the crisis.”
The Medical Priority Dispatch System brings faster and more efficient medical care to people experiencing life-threatening emergencies. Instead of desperately waiting for paramedics to arrive on the scene, the help can begin from the moment someone makes that 911 call.
The MPDS is developed by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, a nonprofit organization based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The system was originally developed in 1979.