30-minute on-site CPR new protocol in RI

EMS personnel will now stay on scene with a patient for as long as 30 minutes, so as not to interrupt CPR

By Carol Kozma
The Providence Journal

WARWICK, R.I. — Not too long ago, Fire Lt. Henrik Dunlaevy and emergency medical services personnel came to the rescue of a young man who went into cardiac arrest.

They performed CPR and the young man regained consciousness. On the ride to the hospital, he was talking.

"Blew my mind away," Dunlaevy said. In 20 years of rescue work, he had never seen a person regain consciousness and talk so quickly after a cardiac arrest.

Dunlaevy believes a new EMS protocol that will be implemented statewide on March 1 is a big part of the man's quick recovery.

Dunlaevy spoke at a Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs press conference held last week to inform the public about the new protocol: 30-minute on-site CPR.

"The point of this protocol is to minimize the interruptions in CPR, in order to promote better patient outcomes," said Dr. Joseph Lauro.

When EMS personnel arrive, they may start chest compressions on a patient, but then stop to place the patient on a gurney and into the ambulance.

Studies have shown that interrupting CPR leads to worse outcomes for patients, said Lauro, an emergency physician at The Miriam Hospital and Newport Hospital.

In response, EMS personnel will now stay on scene with a patient for as long as 30 minutes, so as not to interrupt CPR.

The press conference was held in part to let the public know they should not be surprised if a patient is not immediately brought to a hospital.

Although all Rhode Island communities will begin using the new protocol in March, some, including Warwick, have already implemented the process.

"It definitely was a game changer for us," Dunlaevy said.

After the conference, he said the new protocol gives them more time to figure out what is best for the patient.

"I'm able to slow down," he said. "I'm able to plan ahead."

At the conference, the association's executive director, Chief Rick Susi, also unveiled a video about the new protocol, available on the association's website http://rifirechiefs.com/cpr-protocols/. There, people can also find more information about the protocol and CPR classes.

Copyright 2017 The Providence Journal

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