The medical providers at Medical Rescue Team South Authority saved 12 patients who were in cardiac arrest in 2022. Though these patients had just a 10 percent chance of survival, MRTSA fought against the odds to give them a second chance at life.
Cardiac arrests occur when the heart stops beating. A stopped heart is tough to restart while keeping neurological functions intact. The national average of cardiac arrest saves with good neurological outcome is 10 percent—MRTSA’s survival rate of all cardiac arrests is more than double, at 21 percent.
MRTSA takes pride in the amount and level of training conducted, especially regarding cardiac arrests. Chief Josh Worth remarks that “MRTSA, as an EMS service, is set apart from the rest of Allegheny County and even the Commonwealth. Our cardiac arrest training is derived from real-time patient care and research-based data. We also have a continuous quality improvement team that studies our service’s data to implement further individualized training.” This training has proven vital for the success we see in MRTSA’s performance.
Training directly translates to on-scene performance. “We focus on an integrated system that involves bystanders, police, fire, and EMS to create a functional team,” said Worth. “When you bring together a group of providers that are patient-focused, you see the results: a smooth operation with favorable outcomes.”
When discussing the 12 cardiac arrest patients discharged to their homes with good neurological function, Chief Worth said “it just confirms to us of what we have been doing, what we are doing, and what we will continue to do.”
Just before the end of the year, MRTSA had a couple of surprise visitors—a cardiac arrest survivor and his daughter.
Lawrence Welker suffered a cardiac arrest last August. It was called in as an “unconscious male patient;” Mt. Lebanon police quickly recognized that the patient was in cardiac arrest and initiated CPR. With their help, the crews obtained pulses and stabilized his condition for transport. Days later, MRTSA was notified that the patient was discharged with no neurological deficits. A save!
The patient walked into MRTSA’s main station in good spirits and condition to express his gratitude. This was an emotional reunion between the patient, the family, and the crews who worked his arrest. Welker’s daughter, Carly Gedman, said “It was such an honor to meet all of the providers at Medical Rescue Team South Authority. It made my heart so truly happy to be able to hug them and thank them in person. They saved my dad. Because of them, we still have him here with us. He is alive, in good spirits, and his heart is on the road to recovery. A thank you will never be enough.”