Lake Forest Ambulances Get Better EKG Transmission

Firefighter/Paramedics Colin Barr and Eric Farr demonstrate how to use the EKG equipment

Thanks to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital donors, all four Lake Forest Fire Department ambulances are now able to transmit 12-lead electrocardiograms to the hospital before heart attack patients arrive at the Emergency Department. The technology is vital in situations where every second counts, shortening the time needed for physicians to assess patients’ conditions and determine if they should be sent directly to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab for critical cardiac interventions.

“This is a huge boost for patient care,” said Dr. Jack Franaszek, Medical Director of the Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Emergency Department. “Lake Forest residents can rest assured that the hospital and the Fire Department are doing everything they can to treat heart conditions quickly and appropriately.”

In 2009, generous Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital donors contributed $74,000 in support of the hospital’s emergency services. The hospital designated a portion of those funds for the EKG transmission capabilities in three ambulances. While the city’s ambulances were equipped with EKG machines, three of them could not instantaneously transmit the information to the hospital.

“We are very grateful for this donation. These new capabilities will improve the lines of communication between the paramedics and doctors,” said Lake Forest Fire Department Lt. Bob Martinelli. “Based on the EKG results, doctors can instruct our paramedics on the course of treatment while the patient is still in the ambulance.”

The City of Lake Forest has 30 paramedics, all of whom are trained to use the EKG equipment. The Lake Forest Fire Department receives approximately 1,700 ambulance calls per year, which are attended to by the city’s four ambulances. The remaining funds raised will support the hospital’s Emergency programs.

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