Above & Beyond
Four Ottawa paramedics have been credited with subduing a man suspected of killing a police officer. When Constable Eric Czapnik was attacked and stabbed outside a trauma hospital emergency department during the early morning hours of Dec. 29, paramedics Craig MacInnes, Patricia St. Denis, Amanda Walkowiak and Virginia Warner, who were standing nearby, saw the incident and reacted quickly.
“They immediately ran to his assistance,” says Ottawa Paramedic Service Chief Anthony Di Monte. They were able to subdue the man and use Czapnik’s handcuffs to restrain him, with one of the female paramedics removing the weapon from the suspect. The paramedics then managed Czapnik’s wounds, maintained his airway, and brought the constable inside the trauma center. Despite their quick response, Czapnik died from his injuries. He was the first Ottawa police officer to die on the job in 25 years.
“Certainly that’s not in the realm of a normal paramedic, but their reactions were not only brave but exemplary,” Di Monte says. “They came to the assistance of the officer in need, and we’re very proud of them.”
MacInnes has been in EMS for 22 years, St. Denis for two, Walkowiak for four and Warner for five. They’re not allowed to comment on the incident pending legal proceedings against the suspect.
We applaud these four paramedics for their quick response and for taking action above and beyond the scope of their duties.
No More Coffee Mugs
University Hospitals EMS (UHEMS) in southeast Ohio takes their commitment to patient care seriously—from the 2,000 EMS classes they offer, to the squads they serve, from 66 different communities, to the EMS Week gifts they give those squads.
“Instead of giving coffee mugs or other tchotchkes, we thought it was important to give something that would contribute to patient care,” says UHEMS EMS Director Dan Ellenberger.
As Ellenberger wandered the trade show floor at EMS Today 2009, he found that special something: King Systems’ AIRTRAQ, a disposable optical laryngoscope. Added to the laryngoscope or KING LT airways already carried on board the system’s 200 ambulances, the device allows field medics to use whichever device they’re more comfortable with.
The AIRTRAQs are replenished by UHEMS one at a time as the squads use them. And, as an added bonus, this replacement process provides the system an easy method to evaluate their use.
Introducing new equipment and protocols keeps the EMS personnel challenged and at the top of their game, says Medical Director Robert Coleman, MD. “We’re a constant heartbeat in motion with our protocols,” he says.
UHEMS will be shopping at EMS Today 2010 for next year’s EMS Week gifts—something that impacts patient care and won’t end up shoved into the back of an ambulance compartment or never used.
Thumbs Up to UHEMS for recognizing hard work in a way that’s meaningful to providers and their patients.
All in the Wrist
Neither a sprained wrist nor being off-duty stopped Queens (N.Y.) Fire Medic Jack Winn from saving a life. As he was walking to work in Elmhurst, Queens, mid-January, Winn encountered a crowd surrounding 53-year-old Nicholas Esposito, who had collapsed to the ground. He began CPR on Esposito, who had suffered a heart attack. It would ultimately save his life.
Despite the just-in-time compressions, Esposito didn’t open his eyes for three days, when his 11-year-old son spoke to him. Once conscious, however, he and Winn were reunited. And now, Esposito, who’s recovering at the hospital where he works as a security guard is on the path—albeit a long one, doctors say—to recovery.
With allegations making the headlines of major news outlets about emergency providers failing to care for patients on their watch, it’s nice to hear a story about a provider who, despite being injured and off the clock, rushed to the aide of someone who needed it—no questions asked.