Cardiac monitors on life support

Ambulance service raising funds to replace them

Patsy Brandenburg Special to the Leader

Have you or anyone in your family or close to you ever needed emergency medical help? If you answered yes, then you know just how important emergency responses are to you. If you didn’t answer yes, the odds of it happening in your lifetime are very high.

The Clintonville Area Ambulance Service is currently in need of replacing one Zoll and three Philips cardiac monitors that are several years old, which are located in each of the four ambulances. The reason for the replacement is that the company no longer supports repair of the existing units due to Federal Drug Administration regulations. Replacing these will not be at a minimal cost, and that is why a campaign has been started to help replace these units.

The Clintonville Area Ambulance Service is looking at two available options. One option is to purchase four Physio Lifepak refurbished units for an approximate total cost of $61,600, which includes trading in the current four monitors. The other would be to purchase four all new Physio Lifepak units for a total cost of $103,695.94, which also includes trade-ins.

For the ambulance service, either option is viable, but the agency is seeking community support. If money can be raised, it will help to keep the costs down for all the cities, towns and villages that the ambulance serves.

The Physio Lifepak 15 monitor/defibrillator is used for 12-LEAD ECG (Electric Cardiograms). The monitor determines diagnosis of heart attacks, while the defibrillator is used for correction of irregular lethal heart rhythms, and the pacemaker is used for slow lethal heart rhythms.

The machines also perform blood pressures, oxygen saturation levels and end tidal values for respiratory issues, along with many other advanced monitoring parameters. These new or refurbished machines will be more compatible with area hospitals.

The Clintonville Area Ambulance Service, which is a nonprofit governmental agency, has been in existence since 1980. The service has been progressing and has slowly grown not only in size, but the number of communities served. The service is known as a third service municipal agency, which truly means it is owned by the community and is not a private entity. Leaders from each municipality served provide a member on the ambulance commission that meets monthly.

Today, the service encompasses more than 500 square miles and serves just shy of a population of 13,000. The communities served that spread over three counties, Waupaca, Shawano and Outagamie, include the cities of Clintonville and Marion, villages of Bear Creek, Big Falls and Embarrass, and the towns of Grant, Navarino, Larrabee, Bear Creek, Deer Creek, Dupont, Matteson and Wyoming.

The ambulance service offers paramedic level care with critical care endorsement, which is currently the highest level available. They have two ambulances that are staffed 24/7/365 days a year with a paramedic and EMT or advanced EMT. The service runs its calls out of two locations, Clintonville and Marion. The service has two back-up units in Clintonville and Bear Creek. The service responds to approximately 1,150 calls per year.

Currently, the service is directed by Don Kimlicka. Kimlicka has been involved in EMS for over 35 years and is currently a licensed care paramedic who is very active with state and local EMS government as well as the American Heart Association and the technical college system. The ambulance staff comes from a roster of highly trained and dedicated individuals of around 35.

The ambulance service is involved in the community by offering CPR and first aid courses, safety presentations and training to local businesses, and assisting Erickson’s Pharmacy to provide flu vaccinations. The service also does fundraising which supports other needs of the service, but could not support this cost, and that is why they are seeking donations and grants.

To make a donation, send a check marked “LIFEPAK 15” to the Clintonville Area Ambulance Service, P.O. Box 98, Clintonville, WI 52929. For information, call 715-823-5967.