Winneshiek County Emergency Responders Receive Clinical Save Award

Winneshiek County emergency responders were presented with a Clinical Save award for their role in a cardiac arrest event that happened in December. 

Cardiac Arrest Event

Cy Nelson of Decorah and his friend Kevin Locke, M.D., were together at Cy’s home when he collapsed on the driveway.  Dr. Locke called 911 and began CPR.  The Winneshiek County 911 and Communications Center activated emergency responders.  Decorah Police Officer Adam Ytzen arrived and administered the first AED shock, and they were immediately joined by off-duty paramedic Steve Vanden Brink, who administered a second AED shock.  The WinnMed ambulance and crew arrived along with two additional off-duty paramedics, and together, they used their skills and the life-saving technology to transport Cy to WinnMed to the emergency nurses and physician standing ready.  With emergency services still at work, Gundersen Air emergency flight crew landed at WinnMed and transported Cy to Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus in Rochester, where he was treated.

“I hear about what happened from everyone else!” says Cy.  “I don’t remember a bit of it, until I woke up in Rochester.  I don’t know what the Lord has planned for me, but I have been given a second chance and am focusing on my mission going forward.”

Cardiac Save Statistics

At the Clinical Save gathering, Vanden Brink shared that 90% of cardiac arrest events are fatal.  Additionally, only 7% of those who survive sudden cardiac arrest will be discharged from the hospital with no physical and/or neurological effects.  Vanden Brink says, “The systems we have in place make a difference.  At my last count, there are over 150 AEDs in various locations in Winneshiek County.  With our people, skills, and equipment, we are better prepared to respond to events like Cy’s and see a positive outcome.”

Responders who were recognized include:

  • Dr. Locke who called 911 and immediately started CPR,
  • Winneshiek County 911 and Communications Dispatcher Isaac Phillips who dispatched the call to responders,
  • Decorah Police Officer Adam Ytzen who quickly arrived on scene to provide defibrillation,
  • WinnMed paramedics (on and off-duty) who provided both basic and advanced life support therapy on scene,
  • Emergency nurses and physician who continued life-saving care in the WinnMed Emergency Department, and
  • Gundersen Air flight crew who provided life flight transport to advanced cardiac care.

“I thank each of you for your role in keeping me alive,” says Cy. “I am so grateful.”

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