by Matt Lo Cascio
Two Metro Paramedics employees were recently honored by Elmhurst Hospital for their work with the Elmhurst Fire Department. Paramedics Maddy Peterson and Tony DiCostanzo received the “Run of the Month” award.
Peterson and Dicostanzo received the award for their work on a December 2018 call in which a man had to be resuscitated after police broke down the door to get to him.
“We were dispatched to a 45-year-old male possibly having a seizure,” DiCostanzo said. “Upon arrival, he was behind a locked door and police assisted us to break the door down. Our patient was unconscious and had agonal respirations and a weak carotid. By the time we had moved the patient to the ambulance, the patient had lost his pulse. We began CPR and utilizing ACLS protocols for this patient. The patient was in Ventricular Fibrillation and we had defibrillated him a total of three times throughout the call. We also utilized the LUCAS Device, the mechanical CPR device that Metro had supplied for us. We successfully intubated and gained IO access and continued these protocols. We transported the patient to Elmhurst Memorial Hospital where he regained his pulse and was brought to emergency surgery in the Cath Lab. The patient was found to have full occlusion of his LAD (left anterior descending artery).”
Dicostanzo added that the LUCAS device was key in their life-saving efforts that day. “We believe that without the LUCAS this patient would not have had the same outcome.
Although DiCostanzo and Peterson were the recipients of the award, they knew exactly how they wanted to start treatment based on the information given to them by dispatch. Their plan of care started before they ever reached the patient.
“Right away we were concerned about the patient seizing and not receiving oxygen due to lack of breathing while seizing. Our next concern was access to the patient and being able to treat him in a timely matter. Then upon patient contact, we knew that this patient was in critical condition and that time was of the essence,” DiCostanzo added. “The patient’s family was there to witness this whole incident. Knowing the holidays were coming up we know that it would be hard for the family if he were to perish. We relied on our training and used teamwork to give this patient the best chance he could have.”
Thankfully the story had a happy ending as the patient was admitted to the ICU but able to return home 14 days after the call.
DiCostanzo and Peterson were pleased to be honored for their work but even happier that the patient was able to survive and recover.
“It is nice to be recognized for our work and it reminds us that we have the ability to do a lot of great things in this community. But at the end of the day, we are just happy about this patient’s outcome. Our main concern is always the livelihood of the patient, not about the award that might come after,” DiCostanzo said.
Peterson has been with Metro and on assignment with the Elmhurst Fire Department for the last three years. Dicostanzo has been assigned to EFD for 14 months and has been partnered with Peterson for that entire time.
“Working for Metro has given us a wonderful opportunity to utilize our training that we have been attempting to perfect for years,” DiCostanzo said. “We are both young in our careers, so it’s important that we have a job where every day we can gain meaningful experience and work on skills and critical thinking that we will be using for the rest of our working lives. This position gives us the chance to not only do the job we have always wanted but to be good it.”
According to Edward-Elmhurst Health, Elmhurst Hospital’s EMS Team reviews ambulance runs by pre-hospital providers and selects one to be recognized based on the following criteria:
- Excellent communication from the field that resulted in the timely delivery of pertinent clinical information to the Elmhurst Hospital ED staff
- Clear and thorough documentation
- Superior clinical assessment skills that resulted in accurate recognition of a clinical situation
- Behavior exceeding the call of duty in the field
- Superior partnership and teamwork with Elmhurst Hospital
Dicostanzo and Peterson wanted to make sure people know that they had plenty of help in securing a positive outcome for this call.
“We would like to give credit to the Elmhurst Fire Department for assisting us in all the medical calls we run. Firefighter Mike Caccitolo and Firefighter/EMT Dan Vogel were with us on this call. Without their help, we may have not been able to move, treat and transport this patient in a timely fashion, and he may have not had the same outcome. Also, credit to Elmhurst Memorial Emergency Department Staff and Dr. Roth, the ED doctor that took care of the patient at the time of transfer of care. And thanks to Metro for supplying us with the latest medical supplies and devices, including the LUCAS.”
Metro Paramedics salutes Diconstanzo, Peterson and the entire team of caregivers who did a remarkable job in saving this patient’s life.