Ada County Paramedics Launches Safe Sleep Campaign to Protect Babies from Preventable Deaths

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

abc-ambulance

Ada County Paramedics’ ambulance with ABCs of Safe Sleep messaging

 Boise, October 24, 2016 – In light of October’s SIDS Awareness Month, Ada County Paramedics recently unveiled “The ABCs of Safe Infant Sleep Campaign” to offer safe sleep education to parents and childcare providers in an effort to protect Ada County babies from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID).

Ada County Paramedics Battalion Chief, Bart Buckendorf, who proposed the campaign in partnership with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said it was his thirty-year tenure as a paramedic that prompted his push for ABC education—a simple acronym that stands for the child sleeping Alone, on their Back in a Crib.

“When we get a 911 call from dispatch about a child not breathing. That’s the worse call we can get. That’s the call that we fear,” Buckendorf said. “We hope we can have a positive outcome with the child but too often that doesn’t happen. Anytime you respond to a child, as a paramedic, it’s difficult. It changes you.”

According to Ada County Paramedics call 911 call volume records, there were 15 infant sleep-related deaths since 2010. That’s over two infant deaths each year that could have been prevented with ABC Safe Sleep education.

abc-ambulance-1

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines SIDS as a form of infant death that cannot be explained, while SUID can be attributed to suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, and various other disease or traumas. The AAP says these risks can be reduced by placing babies to sleep on their back on a firm surface, avoiding bed sharing with parents and keeping things like blankets, pillows and stuffed animals out of cribs.

Buckendorf said Ada County Paramedics hopes to educated parents and families that there are ways to keep babies safer during sleep. The paramedic organization recorded a public service announcement that’s aired for the entire month of October. Additionally, employees of Ada County Paramedics pooled funds from their own paychecks to equip three ambulances in their fleet with the ABC of Safe Infant Sleep messaging.

Ada County Paramedics Public Information Officer Hadley Mayes said because these types of deaths are preventable education is the key.

“Placing a baby alone, on their back, in a crib can help ensure a baby doesn’t overheat, suffocate or become trapped under bedding,” Mayes, who has a 7-month-old, said. “Being a new parent is hard, and attempting to sleep train a child to use their crib can be exhausting. But the alternative could be devastating.”

Mayes said over the next few months, more of the Ada County Paramedics ambulance fleet will depict similar Safe Infant Sleep messaging. Ada County Paramedics also plans to work with the state to urge more agencies to tout the importance of educating about the ABCs of Safe Infant Sleep.

“Losing a child is a horrific travesty,” Mayes said. “Ada County Paramedics wants to encourage anyone who cares for children learns and practices the ABCs of Safe Infant Sleep. It could very well save a life.”

Media Contact: Hadley Mayes

Ada County Paramedics

Public Information Officer

O: 208-287-2967

C: 208-914-8148

hmayes@adaweb.net

 

About Ada County Paramedics

For more information, visit www.AdaCountyParamedics.org or call (208) 287-2962. You can also like Ada   County Paramedics on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/AdaCountyParamedic or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AdaParamedics.

Because I Could

Why One Ada County Paramedics Employee Donated Her Kidney  

By: Emily Shaw

For: Ada County Paramedics

Snap Decision

IMG_20160624_192057 (1).jpg

Emily with her stuffed kidney


The decision to donate my left kidney came in a matter of 12 seconds. I asked a friend how her father, Cruz, was. He had been on dialysis for many years and he’d been on the kidney waiting list for just as long. The honesty in her face and hearing about his struggle with infections and the dialysis schedule was all I needed to hear. I spoke with my husband about volunteering my kidney and within a couple of days I started     what would become a 10-month-long process.

Before I go straight into technical details about the donation process, let me explain a few simple things. Cruz is a father, husband, grandfather, brother, uncle and a person who is loved and cherished by other people. As most people who work in healthcare know, renal failure is not easy, it is not pretty and its effects are far reaching beyond dialysis. I had met him once briefly, but even if I hadn’t, I still would have volunteered my kidney.

The Long and Winding Process
The process to donate is daunting and tedious—and for good reason. I started by filling out an online questionnaire to get a baseline of my mental and physical health. It’s slightly invasive and very thorough. I was asked whether I wanted to be a direct donor, an altruistic donor or if I was interested in being part of a chain of donations. I was told that after passing this phase, I’d be contacted by a donor coordinator to start the testing process. I waited about 10 days until I started calling the clinic at least once a week. It took nearly two and half months of me leaving lengthy messages to even receive a call back. Once I was assigned a coordinator I received the initial testing kit which consists of a 24-hour urine collection jug and orders for multiple blood vials. These samples run the full testing gamut and are also used to match your blood with your recipients. My donation was being coordinated out of Utah, but almost all of my testing would be done through St. Luke’s in Boise. Once I was deemed healthy enough, I moved onto the education portion where I had to take a class on the risks and long term effects of donations. I learned  about renal failure, kidney function, and the actual removal. After deciding to move forward, I was assigned to an advocate/social worker who put me through a psycho-social evaluation to make sure I was mentally healthy and prepared for donating a part of my body. I was reminded over and over that I could back out at any time. And if you decide to, they will simply tell your recipient you were not a match. The recipient is never notified of this process, nor are they updated with any of the stages of testing. As far as they know they are still on dialysis waiting for a kidney. But my mind was set from the beginning.

Emily.jpg

Emily and Cruz

Testing 1, 2, 3
Next, I drove to Salt Lake for my in-person clinic visit. This visit consists of more urine samples, more blood samples, a CT scan, a chest X-ray, a 12-lead, dietician meetings and meetings with your coordinator, advocate and surgeon. It’s at this meeting you decide which kidney to donate. Luckily, I had two very healthy kidneys. I was told my left kidney had a longer ureter and artery which makes the donation a little easier. The right kidney, which is located next to your liver, is more work for the surgeon and a little higher risk to extract. When I left this appointment I was told my case would go before the transplant board the following day and they would decide if my recipient and I qualified for surgery. Once I got the green light, my recipient was notified and we picked a surgery date! I had one more round of testing done about five days before surgery to ensure nothing changed and that my recipient’s body would still likely accept my kidney. The final stage was waking up early one morning and walking into a surgery suite to gown up, be asked one more time if you still want to donate, and then venture off into a peaceful Versed-induced sleep.

The Nitty Gritty
The real world version of all of that testing is simple. It is many hours of waiting, calling, driving to give blood and diving headfirst into the rabbit hole of research. I tried to keep Cruz informed throughout the process and was in constant contact with his daughter with any news or testing I participated in. My first call to the transplant center was in September of 2015. I took my education class in December and had my clinic visit in April of 2016. Early on, it becomes fairly all-consuming. I had a 5 hour drive back to Boise by myself after the initial clinic visit in Salt Lake. I had done everything I could up to that point to ensure I had a healthy kidney, and now it was in a team of strangers’ hands to decide if we moved forward.

I made a few personal dietary and lifestyle health changes when I decided to donate, none of which were asked of me, but all of them made me feel like I was doing the best I could to ensure the healthiest kidney for Cruz. I gave up meat and dairy, which believe it or not, was received by others with less enthusiasm than my choice to donate a kidney. I researched renal diets and best possible ways for my body to recover post surgery.

Scalpel Ready
I don’t remember the surgery itself. I know it was July 5th, exactly ten months to the day I volunteered to donate. I remember waking up extremely nauseated while my husband and dearest friend stayed with me listening to me moan for hours. I knew Cruz had made it out of recovery as well. The pain was minimal as long as I stayed on top of my medication for the first 24 hours. I imagine it’s like any surgery except I had the privilege of sharing a wall with the person who got my kidney. I got to pass his room on my walks and vice versa. His visitors came to my room to check on me and for the two days I was in the hospital I came to completely understand the gravity of my choice. When I left the hospital, I had to have two people contracted to be my care takers and be willing to put up with me while I spiraled out of control from narcotics and wanting to shower. They were asked to sign a contract by the transplant center ensuring I stay in Salt Lake for six days post surgery (because I lived more than 3 hours away). They also had to drive me to appointments and take care of my post-surgery needs.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 10.20.59 AM.png

Getting ready for surgery!

 Post Op
I am only 3 months out of surgery so I still have a few side effects. Ultimately I was out of work (at Ada County Paramedics) for 16 days, part time for 5 weeks and have been back full time since then. I have some femoral nerve issues in my right leg, which is from the positioning on the bean bag during surgery (yes, they performed the surgery on a bean bag chair—to ensure there was minimal pressure.) I suffer from some pretty impressive fatigue that I think I’ve imagined until I remember that my right kidney is still growing to compensate for being a lone soldier. I will know my normal blood levels on July 5, 2017 as it takes about one full year from donation to be at your new normal for everything. I will have follow up blood tests at 6 months, 1 year and 2 years. The hardest part has been learning to be my own advocate. The surgery is totally covered by the recipients insurance; this does not mean that all of the testing or billing will be correct on the first time around. There are days I come home scratching my 4″ incision, so tired I have tears in my eyes for no reason. On those days I look at a box of letters, I was given from various people in Cruz’s life who wanted to thank me or express their gratitude for my donation. I had asked that I remain somewhat anonymous as I  didn’t and still don’t want personal attention or to be regarded as a hero. But, in all honesty, getting to read how my kidney donation has effected these other people’s lives made everything worthwhile. I will cherish that gift more than I can ever express. My incision is my reminder that while Cruz will have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life, he can now be with his family for many more years to come. He can go on a vacation or camping without a single thought of having to be hooked up to a machine. He can enjoy his family with more energy and freedom than he had before. It makes my potentially-one-year of being tired and numb more than worth it.

It Doesn’t Grow on Trees
It’s important to know that while every test and anything involved in the surgery and after- care is financially covered, it still costs money. There are grants available to people who need help with housing, food and travel. Most recipients’ insurance will also pay a portion of the travel or lodging. It is vital to understand that while donating is a very nice thing to do, it is not free. This is a deterrent for many people. I could write, in length, thoughts on why I  don’t think people should bepaid for donation, but that is for another long-worded diatribe. It’s a choice that shouldn’t be made lightly, but has endless moments of wonder. No one should donate any organ unless they are sure it is a choice they can live with. It is also extremely important to have a support network that enables you to heal and be whoever you need to be during recovery.

My only wish would be that there were more people to talk to about the process before and after the procedure. There are questions no medical professional can answer as they only perform the surgeries. I had an amazing team, but they could not relate to what I was feeling or needing to know. When I was asked about writing this I was not sure if I wanted to or what I would say. But it is so important to have real information available about donation. To have something to relate it to, or to know someone who has been through it. I think knowing the process is comforting, and understanding that at some point it becomes just another event in life, which makes it not so weighty at the moment of surgery. I wish I could write about the process for Cruz as well. He had a much longer stay in Salt Lake, just as he had a much longer road to receiving my kidney. But that is his story to tell. I also would have liked to express more the real feel of the whole experience, but no one has the time to read my thoughts, nor is it a story necessarily for public consumption.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.23.26 PM.png

                                                                 Cruz and his wife Roz

 

To wrap it all up I will answer the three questions I was most asked:

1)    Do you know your recipient?

Yes, but even if I had had no connection to him, I still would have volunteered. We will now know each other in a very deeply personal way. He is a part of me forever and I am part of him.

2)    Would you do it again?

Yes, I would do it a million times over if I could generate more kidneys to donate.

3)    Why did you donate your kidney?

BECAUSE I COULD!

Interested in Donating?

If you or someone you know is interested in donating an organ, the process is long and complicated. But the following links can provide some direction and/or support.

1) The National Living Donor Assistance Center offers grants to help with travel, food and lodging.

2) The National Kidney Foundation helps find a hospital and people on the waiting list if someone wants to be an altruistic donor, also it’s a great starting point for research.

3) The University of Utah Kidney Donation is where my surgery was done.

I also found a closed group on Facebook called “Living Kidney Donors” that was very helpful. There is also a book called “Lost in Transplantation” by Eldonna Edwards that I found helpful. Ms. Edwards was my only resource for a human connection to the donation process.

Ada County Paramedics Receive American Heart Association Award For Third Year

AwardBOISE, June, 2016 —  Ada County Paramedics has been honored with the highest level of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Mission: Lifeline® Quality Achievement Award for two sequential years. The organization also received the Silver level American Heart Association Award for patients seen in 2014, which is a prerequisite for receiving the gold level. The prestigious “Gold” award recognizes the greatest level of success awarded by AHA for improving measures for patients with heart attacks— otherwise known as STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction).

“When Ada County Paramedics identify a STEMI heart attack, we’re able to quickly alert the hospital cardiologist and often bypass the Emergency Department altogether, taking the patient directly to the cardiac cath lab for immediate treatment—which can save precious minutes,” said Hadley Mayes, Public Information Officer for Ada County Paramedics.

Each year, more than 250,000 people experience an STEMI, which is the most deadly type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said James Jollis, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud Ada County Paramedics for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

“We’re pleased to receive this prestigious award for three sequential years, but positively impacting our STEMI patients’ lives is the greatest reward of all,” Mayes said.

About Ada County Paramedics
For more information, visit www.AdaCountyParamedics.org or call (208) 287-2962. You can also like Ada County Paramedics on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/AdaCountyParamedic or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AdaParamedics.

About Mission: Lifeline
The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing
teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines.  For more information, visit heart.org/missionlifeline and heart.org/quality.

Ada County Paramedics Employees Donate Time, Funds for Charity

Despite Saturday’s rain drizzle, Ada County Paramedics employees headed to the grocery store, filled up a few shopping carts and loaded the items onto a gurney for donation to the the annual KTVB “7 Shares, Idaho Cares” event.

12345451_910077359046564_5560310230972479906_n.jpg

Ada County Paramedics participates in the food drive each year– which directly benefits local charities in the community we serve. After packing all the food safely into one of our ambulances, we headed over to deliver our contribution and our enthusiasm for this great event!

12391361_910076772379956_1304729412287181434_n.jpg

We love Ada County and participating in the KTVB “7 Cares, Idaho Shares” event is just one of the many ways we contribute to the community in which we live and work.

12345588_910076792379954_1814228069555279818_n.jpg

Ada County Paramedics Battalion Chief Named Community Champion By Local News Group

Media Contact: Hadley Mayes

Ada County Paramedics

Direct: 208-287.2967

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ada County Paramedics Battalion Chief Andrea Cobler has been named “Community Champion” in a contest presented by KTVB and Idaho Central Credit Union for her hard work and commitment to the community she serves.

Cobler, who has worked for Ada County Paramedics since 1994 and in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) field since 1989 said she’s humbled and grateful to be recognized as a “Community Champion.”

“I became a paramedic as a way to give back to my community,” Cobler said. “To be recognized means that I have been providing that service to our community.”

In an email from KTVB, a representative said Community Champion nominations opened in early October and entrants in each category with the most votes were named the winner at the end of the month.

“I have always held the belief that empathy, compassion and serving others is of the highest importance in life,” Cobler said. “It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment knowing that people trust me and believe in what I’m doing.”

Ada County Paramedics has provided exceptional medical care and superior service since 1975. Our expertise and genuine concern for our patients are just a few of the many things that shape our philosophy–which is based on integrity, trust, humanity, stewardship and excellence. For more information about Ada County Paramedics visit www.AdaCountyParamedics.org or call (208) 287-2962. Like Ada County Paramedics on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/AdaCountyParamedic and follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/AdaParamedics.