Marion officer’s quick response saves a life

Marion officer’s quick response saves a life

It started out as a normal day.

Marion Police officer Nikki Hotz was sitting in her cruiser on Nov. 1 behind MercyCare Urgent Care, near Seventh Avenue and Katz Drive in Marion, catching up on some paperwork when the call came in from a woman reporting that her husband was unresponsive and possibly having a heart attack at the Marion Village mobile home park on Midway Drive.

Hotz wasn’t supposed to be working that shift, but it was lucky she was.

The mobile home park was only about a quarter mile from Hotz’s location, so she radioed that she was responding and high-tailed it to the scene.

“Because I was so close, I was the first one to arrive on the scene,” she said. “When I got there, I knocked on the door and inside I could hear the man’s wife yelling.”

When she went in, Hotz said, the man was lying on the couch in the living room. He had no pulse and was not breathing.

“At that point my training just kicked in and I started doing what I needed to do,” she said.

Hotz cleared some space and moved the man from the couch to the floor. Then she started CPR.

Within about a minute, Hotz said Marion firefighters arrived and took over compressing the man’s chest and ventilating him.

“That’s when I pulled out my knife and began cutting his clothes off so the medics could do their work,” Hotz said.


Shortly after, Hotz said an ambulance arrived and with it the Lucas Chest Compression System, a machine designed to deliver uninterrupted chest compressions at a consistent rate and pressure.

“That machine is one the biggest advantages we have in medical emergencies,” Hotz said. “It saves on fatigue for the first responders, it frees up hands to tend to the rest of the patient’s needs, and it delivers timed and properly pressured compressions to the patient.”

The man was quickly loaded into the ambulance and taken to St. Luke’s. Eventually, Hotz got word that he regained his pulse and was being treated for what was believed to be a heart attack.

“That’s when all the adrenaline faded and the emotions kicked in,” Hotz said. “I had never had to perform CPR on someone before, and I really wanted him to be OK. Afterwards, I just went back to my car and prayed for him to recover and cried.”

The man did recover and Hotz was able to visit with him at his home on Thanksgiving.

“He’s amazing,” she said. “He’s a bit of a jokester, he’s got a great sense of humor, and he’s eager to get back to living his life.”

Looking back on her experience, Hotz said she is grateful she was able to help the man, but she didn’t do it alone.

“It was a total team effort,” she said. “So many people had a hand in saving him. From his wife calling 911 to the dispatcher getting that information out quickly so I and fire and EMS were able to get there as fast as we did. The Marion Fire Department, the paramedics with Area Ambulance, the doctors and nurses at the hospital, we all worked together to help him.”

Last week, during a Marion City Council meeting, Hotz was awarded the Lifesaving Award for her part in saving the man.


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Marion Police Chief Joseph McHale said the award was given in recognition of Hotz’s ability to respond under pressure and do what needed to be done.

“It’s important to recognize the efforts of our officers,” McHale said. “It reinforces the behavior and the officer’s response, and it’s our way of recognizing that officer for their courage and their ability to respond and act in stressful situations.”

Officer Hotz has been with the police department for about five years, McHale said. She is currently assigned as a patrol officer and was recently assigned as the department’s bomb tech.

“She is energetic and passionate about the work we do,” he said. “She’s a patrol officer now, but I see the potential for leadership in her future. She is dedicated to the agency and the job, and she does a really good job for us.”

For Hotz, Nov. 1 was a culmination of all her training — from the baby sitter CPR class she took as a teenager, to her military training to her training as an officer — all of which came back to her in that moment.

“The most rewarding award is knowing that I was part of this effort to help bring this man back and get him back to his family in time for the holidays,” she said. “As first responders — whether you’re police or fire or EMS or a dispatcher — all of us want to save a life. We all go to these calls, and we see more losses than saves. I’m just grateful this one was a save.”

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Man in critical condition after being struck by Md. ambulance

Man in critical condition after being struck by Md. ambulance

By EMS1 Staff

GARRISON, Md. — A man is in critical condition after he was struck by an ambulance Wednesday, according to police.

WBAL TV reported that a Baltimore County Fire Department ambulance was on its way back to the station after transporting a patient when the man was hit.

Officials said the EMT and paramedic who were inside the ambulance immediately began treating the man, and they also called for additional help, as well as police.

“They worked aggressively on him. Our fire department surgeon happened to be in the area and responded to this call, and was extremely impressed with the care they provided under duress. This is a very difficult call for them — we’re in the business of saving lives. So something like this is an extremely stressful event,” BCFD spokesperson Elise Armacost said.

The man was airlifted to the hospital in critical, but stable condition.

The crash is currently under investigation.


Apple Watch’s heart monitoring feature now live

Apple Watch’s heart monitoring feature now live

By EMS1 Staff

CUPERTINO, Calif. — The Apple Watch’s latest update includes an ECG app that monitors heart rate and checks for irregular rhythms.

Digital Trends reported that the electrocardiogram app, which is now available for Apple Watch Series 4 users, includes a pair of electrodes built into the back of the watch to check for irregular heart rhythms.

The Apple Watch’s latest update includes an ECG app that monitors heart rate and checks for irregular rhythms. (Photo/Apple)
The Apple Watch’s latest update includes an ECG app that monitors heart rate and checks for irregular rhythms. (Photo/Apple)

According to TechCrunch, the app passively monitors the wearer’s heart in the background, and another feature requires the user to complete the circuit by placing a fingertip on the edge of the watch’s digital crown.

If the app detects a skipped or rapid heartbeat, a notification will be sent to the user’s watch screen.

When a notification is received, the user is supposed to open the ECG app and rest their arm on a flat surface while holding a finger to the digital crown. At that point, a real-time graph of the user’s heart rhythm will be displayed until the app finishes its measurements. 

The feature is not meant to replace a doctor, but to simply monitor for complications. The signup process warns users that the app cannot detect a heart attack, blood clots or a stroke.

ABC News reported that Richmond, Virginia, resident Ed Dentel was testing the app after updating his watch when he was alerted that he might be experiencing atrial fibrillation.

“The application on the launch sounded off right away with atrial fibrillation — not something I’ve ever heard of, but since I’m in pretty decent health and never had a problem before, I didn’t give it much thought. I figured something was glitchy, so I set everything down turned in for the night,” he said.

Dentel said he put his watch back on the next morning and received the same alert.

“Right away: AFib. So I shut everything down and turned it back on and tried it again. Same result, same result, same result,” he said.

Dentel added that he gave the watch to his wife to see if she received the same alert, and it came back normal.

“I put it on my left wrist, on top, AFib. I put it on my left wrist, on the bottom, AFib. I switch to my right wrist. Same thing. So, I started to get a little bit alarmed.”

Dentel went to the doctor and was given an EKG, and the diagnosis was confirmed.

“I was dealing with a case of atrial fibrillation that I never knew I had and probably wouldn’t have known anytime soon,” he said.

Still, doctors said they’re taking a wait-and-see approach with the app.

“It is potentially helpful in these small instances,” Dr. Michael Cho, a cardiologist at Crystaln Run Healthcare, said. “The incidence is higher as you get older — if you had Apple Watches on 80-year-olds, you’d have a high incidence of AFib. If you have mostly 20-, 30- or 40-year-olds, you’re not going to see that much.”


SD city officials consider writing off $1.7M in unpaid ambulance bills

SD city officials consider writing off $1.7M in unpaid ambulance bills

By EMS1 Staff

RAPID CITY, S.D. — City officials are considering writing off $1.7 million in unpaid ambulance bills.

Rapid City Journal reported that Rapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee is considering a resolution to write off 2,676 unpaid ambulance bills that date back as far as 2006.

Rapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee is considering a resolution to write off 2,676 unpaid ambulance bills that date back as far as 2006. (Photo/RCFD)
Rapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee is considering a resolution to write off 2,676 unpaid ambulance bills that date back as far as 2006. (Photo/RCFD)

Around 98 percent of the bills are either past the six-year statute of limitations or are uncollectible because the person has died without an estate.

Rapid City Fire Department officials said they have “attempted everything” to collect the funds.

“It’s certainly not for a lack of trying,” Chief Rod Seals said.

EMS Chief Jason Culberson said the department sends out around 10,000 bills a year.

“We’ve attempted everything, including sending it to one of the credit-collection companies,” he said. “We try everything.”

The city budget labels the ambulance service as an “enterprise fund” and receives funding from fees paid for the service.

Seals said the city does not use property taxes to fund the ambulance service like surrounding areas do, because the high call volume has historically provided enough funds to avoid doing so. However, he said it’s unclear how sustainable the model will be in the future.

“All we try to do is to break even,” Seals said. “[But] the cost of providing the service is rising faster than the reimbursements are. We are certainly not the only ones in this situation. It’s affecting all ambulance providers across the nation.”

Mayor Steve Allender said other cities are experiencing the same issue.

“Everyone we talk to is having the same problem with ambulances and people are starting to worry about the sustainability of public ambulances,” he said.

Culberson added that Medicare and Medicaid regulation increases, as well as reimbursement cuts from the Indian Health Service, have hurt the department’s bottom line.

“We’ve been seeing an alarming trend and we’re not the only ones seeing it,” he said.

Calif. paramedic rescues skier who fell hundreds of feet

Calif. paramedic rescues skier who fell hundreds of feet

By EMS1 Staff

TAHOE, Calif. — A Highway Patrol video shows a paramedic rescuing a skier who fell hundreds of feet from a mountain.

ABC7 reported that the backcountry skier was rescued by a Squaw Valley Fire Department paramedic who was lowered by helicopter to bring the man to safety.

Officials said the man fell between 200 and 300 feet from the rocks along Mount Tallac, a popular backcountry ski destination.

The extent of the skiers injuries are unknown.

Watch the full video below: