Giving Patients Their Best Chance
- August 30, 2018
Brookings Health System Foundation Launches Capital Campaign for Ambulance Station & Education Center
Two years ago on Sept. 2, 2016, the Friday before Labor Day, Brookings Health System’s ambulance service was called to an accident along U.S. Highway 14 west of Volga. An east-bound 2001 Oldsmobile crossed the center line, colliding head-on with the car driven by Medary Elementary Art Teacher Jennifer Moser.
Jennifer survived the crash despite numerous near-fatal injuries. Many have heard how Jennifer miraculously recovered from a liver that was nearly torn in half, a punctured and collapsed lung, cracks in her pelvis, fractured knees, a shattered elbow and broken vertebrae, ribs, feet and toes. What they haven’t heard is how her unbelievable recovery started: with the quick response of local emergency medical services.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them,” said Jennifer. “If I was in a different country, I would have died along the side of the road.”
Responding to the Call
That evening minutes after the crash, Brookings Ambulance arrived on the scene to provide advanced life support to the survivors. Working on the ambulance crew that day was Paramedic Audie Beckman.
The ambulance team was informed the driver of the Oldsmobile was already dead. So was Jennifer. While the other ambulance crew members went to check on the Oldsmobile’s passengers, Audie went to double-check Jennifer.
“I personally wanted to check her,” said Audie.
Jennifer was pinned under the driver’s console. As Audie looked, she saw Jennifer’s chest move. Audie crawled through the vehicle’s shattered back window and up to the passenger side to better assess Jennifer. That’s when she found Jennifer’s pulse.
“At that moment, I yelled to the first responders and the Volga Fire Department to help get her out of there,” said Audie.
The team took out the windshield and freed Jennifer using the Jaws of Life. They moved Jennifer to a backboard, loaded her in to the ambulance, and took off for Brookings Hospital’s emergency room. Inside the ambulance Audie immediately began caring for her patient. As a paramedic, Audie is licensed to perform advanced life support. For Jennifer, this meant Audie administered an IV with pain medication during the ambulance ride.
Once at the hospital, Audie stayed with Jennifer and helped the nurses and doctors stabilize her. The Brookings Health team took X-rays, intubated Jennifer’s airway and placed her in a pelvic girdle, prepping her for the Sanford AirMed flight to Sioux Falls.
“When the flight crew arrived, they told us, ‘You did everything. We don’t need to do anything else to prep her for the flight,’” said Audie.
Ensuring a Quick, Efficient Response
An early response to a medical emergency allows paramedics and EMTs to prolong life and give patients, like Jennifer, their best chance to receive definitive medical care. That’s why Brookings Health System is currently building the new Ambulance Station and Education Center along Yorkshire Drive.
“Our ambulance team serves the same critical need for our community as law enforcement and fire and rescue. Improving dispatch and response times even by seconds can mean the difference between life and death for individuals who face medical emergencies,” said Ambulance Director Gordon Dekkenga.
According to Dekkenga, the new station location is strategically placed to service the majority of call volume for both the city and county while maintaining strong access to respond to other advanced life support calls throughout the local area.
“The location on Yorkshire Drive gives us quick access to 22nd Avenue and main routes. It also gives us improved access to I-29, a hot spot, unfortunately, for accidents,” said Dekkenga.
Brookings Health currently leases a location along Eighth Street South for the ambulance service. That location wasn’t designed to house emergency medical services. While functional, it has its drawbacks, including proper storage for medical supplies and vehicle garages disconnected from staff offices and living quarters. It’s also a significant distance from Brookings Hospital.
The new Ambulance Station and Education Center fixes the challenges with the current location. It places the ambulance service in close proximity to Brookings Hospital and the ER. When completed, it will house all four advanced life support vehicles, the mass casualty vehicle and the mobile first-aid station trailer under the same roof as staff offices and living quarters. The result: increased efficiency and even quicker response times.
The new station will also enable the ambulance service to attend to the growing needs of the community. In 2017, Brookings Health System’s ambulance service made over 2,285 calls, a 40% increase in call volume since 2009. While most calls do not involve the same trauma level as Jennifer’s, all calls involve a critical medical situation for a person in need.
Supporting Our Lifesavers
To help build the new Ambulance Station and Education Center, Brookings Health System Foundation has launched the Support Our Lifesavers capital fundraising campaign. The Foundation’s overall goal is to raise $200,000 to help offset 20% of the total building cost. As someone who survived thanks to the ambulance team’s quick response, Jennifer feels personally obligated to support the campaign and hopes community members will do the same.
“They saved my life and they save so many lives,” said Jennifer. “I really think they are angels. What they do makes such a difference and they don’t get near the credit or recognition for what they do every day.”
The Foundation’s 2018 Aiming to Inspire Health sporting clays fundraiser kick-started the campaign, contributing $21,250. That money will purchase items like audio/video equipment and other educational supplies for the education center which will hold training sessions for Brookings Health employees and host community classes like First Aid and CPR.
The balance of funds raised during Brookings Health System’s Support Our Lifesavers campaign will help furnish other areas of the new Ambulance Station and Education Center, rounding out the much needed headquarters for the ambulance service.
“Everyone in our community is affected by the Brookings Ambulance in one aspect or another,” said Foundation Director Sara Schneider. “You may not need emergency medical services today. You may not need them a year from now. But when you, or a loved one, need those services, Brookings Ambulance will always be there, always on-call and ready to assist.”
Community members interested in giving to the Support Our Lifesavers campaign may donate online at www.brookingshealth.org/SupportOurLifesavers or may contact Schneider directly at (605) 696-8855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Brookings Health System
Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes the 49-bed Brookings Hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, and medical clinics in Arlington, White and Volga, South Dakota. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.
About Brookings Health System Foundation
The mission of Brookings Health System Foundation is “Inspiring people to support Brookings Health System through philanthropy, recognizing the vital role of local healthcare in sustaining quality of life in our community.” Gifts to the Foundation support charity health care for those less fortunate, health and wellness education, facility, equipment, and technology upgrades and other needs as they arise at Brookings Health System. For more information about Brookings Health System Foundation or how you may contribute, please contact Foundation Director Sara Schneider at (605) 696-8855 or email@example.com.