Source: Becca Owsley, The News-Enterprise
It has been a year since the PulsePoint app was instituted in Hardin County, creating a wider net of lifesaving possibilities. Area use of the smartphone app is a coordinated effort between Hardin Memorial Health, Hardin County Emergency Medical Services and Hardin County 911. It uses the 911 system to alert CPR-trained bystanders in the vicinity of a cardiac emergency to perform the steps until EMS arrives.
A few months ago, the app alerted six off-duty staff members of Hardin Memorial Hospital’s emergency room department of a CPR emergency while they were eating dinner at Texas Roadhouse.
Someone in a hotel next door, Baymont Inn and Suites, was in need of CPR. They were able to go to the hotel and administer CPR until an ambulance arrived.
Amber Stiles was one of those who responded. She is a flight nurse for Air Methods and a nurse at HMH. Registered nurses McKayla Phillip and Tara Warren and emergency department techs Sam Thomas, Kenzie Bradley and Kim Faux also responded.
The patient was unresponsive when they arrived, Stiles said. They told the family they were CPR trained and took over.
The app, she said, lets those with CPR training know when there is an incident so they can respond to administer the procedure.
While she is medically trained, Stiles said it could be difficult for someone who has basic CPR training to respond to this type of situation because it’s not something they are used to doing.
But with the right training and knowledge, it can be helpful for someone in need of CPR and can help give basic life support until EMS can arrive, Stiles said.
The first couple minutes are crucial in saving someone’s life, she said.
While everyone involved was medically trained, they were not on duty, Stiles said. The patient, in this particular case, died several hours later, but was able to receive early CPR thanks to the PulsePoint response before EMS arrived.
Stiles said the app is used in Hardin and two other counties in Kentucky. She calls it a huge benefit to get first responders to the scene faster to save more lives.
Jamie Armstrong, Hardin County EMS supervisor, said the PulsePoint app has activated several times and nearby residents have been alerted, but there is no way to track who responds to the app and who does not.
When EMS arrives, they are there to care for the patient and do not have time to find out how people responded, he said. But because this response was made by hospital staff, it allowed officials to find out how they were alerted to the need.
“It’s meant more for lay people, meaning people who are not trained as medical providers,” he said.
Armstrong said everyone should undergo CPR training because it can be helpful at anytime.
The app has helped first responders be informed about what’s happening in the county more quickly.
When dispatch gets a call, they type in responses such as “motor vehicle accident,” “structure fire” and other emergencies. Dispatch sends the emergency to PulsePoint and it reaches responders immediately, providing them a few minutes extra to get to a truck or ambulance to be ready when more information is available, he said.
It also helps first responders when they are in a situation where they don’t have a radio handy, such as eating dinner with family, Armstrong said.
The app also can be used to distribute news and alerts of potential hazards or roadway closures, he said.
The goal was to reach 1,600 app downloads in the first year. Armstrong said more than 3,000 downloads have occurred locally. The community, he said, has embraced the program.
“It just takes one person in the right spot with the app and someone’s life will be changed forever,” he said.