EMSA's 'call to shock' response time is one of the best in the US

Wednesday, July 30th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Sudden cardiac arrest is the nation's number one killer and lives can be saved or lost in as few as 6 minutes.

A recent USA Today study gives EMSA - in Tulsa and Oklahoma City - high marks when it comes to cardiac arrest survival rates. News on 6 anchor Tami Marler explains some of the reasons why.

Studies like the one in USA Today confirm what many of the people at EMSA and their patients already know. “He was literally dead, just in an instant. His heart had quit beating." After 42 years of marriage, Marylu and Robert Wunsch still had plans for the future when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest last spring. "And then the next thing I know, he was making that sound of a loud snore, you know that sound, and I thought, 'he can't possibly be asleep.'"

It was at the AMC theater in Tulsa, and Robert Wunsch wasn't asleep, he was clinically dead, and in order for there to be a good outcome, everything had to work just right. "When you see them, and you know that they're dead, I mean there's just, I knew there was nothing I could do. We needed help." They still get emotional about that day and the 2-minute-45 second response time that saved his life.

"It's all a team effort. You have to know how long someone is down, you have to have someone to call 911, then when we get there, we have to have a team relationship with first responders." Steve Williamson says EMSA has that team relationship with the Tulsa Fire Department's paramedics.

Robert Wunsch: "EMSA got there first but they had to unload their equipment and the fire department was in the theater first, and what they tell me is they literally picked me up out of the seat, took me down the stairs."

Doug McDonald, EMSA paramedic and trainer, "The 911 call went out, the CPR was started, then the fire department were there." EMSA paramedics also track their every move with this integrated computer system, so they can learn from every call.

Patients like Bob Wunsch can't imagine how EMSA can get any better. "I just felt like it just happened, you're thankful to God every day."

The USA Today study looked at 2001 survival rates and "call-to-shock" time, from the second the 911 call is received, to the patient's first defibrillator shock. Tulsa ranked 12th in the nationwide study.