February 8, 2002

Contact:   Jennifer Kurczek
                Community Relations Director

                (920)361-5481 or jkurczek@partnershealth.org




CHN Anesthesia Services, Early Bird Kiwanis team up to purchase

lifesaving defibrillator unit for Ripon College


Students and visitors at Ripon College (RC) will have added piece of mind when the college obtains a portable Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) unit later this month. The AED units have been proven to save lives in patients experiencing life threatening heart attacks.


The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) of Community Health Network, who serve patients at Ripon Medical Center, and the Ripon Early Bird Kiwanis groups raised funds to purchase the $1,900 defibrillator unit and presented it to college officials during a meeting at Royal Ridges on February 6.


"Because we live and work here, we feel it is important as healthcare providers to make this AED unit available to the community," said Mike Wolf, CRNA, of CHN Anesthesia Services. "Defibrillator units can make the difference between life or death when medical emergencies arise. We hope the availability of this unit provides peace of mind and reassurance to persons using Ripon College facilities."


When a person suffers from an apparent heart attack or cardiac arrest, a defibrillator establishes a heart rhythm by delivering a shock to the heart when it ceases to function on its own, Wolf explained. When AED's are not available in emergency situations, a patient has minimal chance of being stabilized on the scene or transported to a medical facility for further care.

While the unit is actually simple enough for a layperson to operate, RC student health and athletic staff, as well as other college personnel, will be trained to use the AED. The unit will be stored in the Storzer Physical Education Center, where most indoor athletic events are held, and which is adjacent to the college's performing art center.


Ripon College medical director Dr. James Williams provided medical authorization for the AED to be installed at the college.


"What's clever about the portable defibrillator is the fact that it first determines whether a person in sudden cardiac arrest needs defibrillation, so there's little chance of the unit being misused," he said. "It automatically analyzes the patient's heart rhythms and will administer the shock when it determines the need."


In nearby communities, access to AEDs has proven to make a life or death difference. During the second half of 2001 in Berlin, where two of the city's police squad cars are equipped with AEDs, the lives of two patients were saved when responding officers utilized the unit in resuscitation of unconscious patients. In early January, a 15-year old Milwaukee boy suffered a fatal heart attack at basketball practice, which could have been prevented if an AED unit was available.


Defibrillator units cost roughly $5,000 including training, Wolf said. While many primary and secondary schools are eligible to receive funding through grant programs to purchase AEDs, colleges and other public institutions must generate their own funding for purchasing the units.


CHN Anesthesia Services, which provides local and general anesthesia and pain management services to patients at Berlin Memorial Hospital and Ripon Medical Center, includes CRNA's Keith Krause, Franklin McShane, Phil Mittlestaedt, Tony Singh, and anesthesiologists Dr. Timothy Johnson, Dan Resop and David Swanson.