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EMS takes new approach to saving lives
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MONROE - Green County Emergency Medical Services is gearing up for some new life-saving training.

Cardiocerebral resuscitation (CCR) is a new approach for resuscitating patients with cardiac arrest.

The CCR method advocates, as a first step, continuous chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth ventilations for witnessed cardiac arrest.

Green County's plan to implement the new method, and to train personnel for administering it, is awaiting approval from the state EMS office, according to Chief Dan Nufer, Green County EMS Service Director.

"We plan to start next month. And we'll have a kick off, initially in Monroe with the EMS, police and fire (departments) and Juda First Response," Nufer said.

Training will then spread through the county.

"Down the road," citizens will be trained in the CCR method, which can be learned in about an hour, Nufer said.

"It's quite simple," he said.

Along with the added CCR method, GCEMS is planning to increase its level of services to the intermediate level.

"(The community) will see us acting more on scene, doing more what paramedics do," he said.

At that level, Nufer said, EMS personnel will be able to provide 90 percent of the services of paramedics, including administering cardiac drugs and cardioshocks.

The main purpose is "to get the heart started before moving the patient," he said.

"The key to CCR is good, high quality chest compression," Nufer said. "That's hard to do in the back of an ambulance, difficult at best."

The American Heart Association is recommending the CCR method, also called Hands-Only CPR, in certain situations, as a substitute for CPR, when bystanders are reluctant to do the mouth-to-mouth portion.

The AHA Web site notes "less than 1/3 of those people who experience a cardiac arrest at home, work or in a public location get CPR help. Most bystanders are worried that they might do something wrong or make things worse."

Early intervention with the CCR method can be as effective as conventional CPR, according the site.

"For doing chest compressions, the earlier the better," Nufer said. "It's imperative for survival; and by survival, I mean not just survival, but walking out of the hospital on your own."

"Providing Hands-Only CPR to an adult who has collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest can more than double that person's chance of survival," the AHA site says.

CCR is composed of three components: 1) continuous chest compressions for bystander resuscitation; 2) a new emergency medical services (EMS) algorithm; and 3) aggressive post-resuscitation care. The first two components of CCR were first instituted in 2003 in Tucson, Arizona; in 2004 in the Rock and Walworth counties of Wisconsin; and in 2005 in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area.

Nufer said Dr. Christine Langemo, EMS Medical Control Director at the Monroe Clinic Hospital for GCEMS is behind the move to get CCR into Green County.

Mary Austin, EMS co-ordinator responsible for quality assurance and continuing education, submitted the plans for state approval.

The Monroe Clinic EMS Office maintains a record of attendance and skills performed by the EMTs in the field and in clinicals, training sessions, exams and recertifications.