Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital recognized the exemplary efforts of local first responders at its annual A Cut Above Award Ceremony, which took place at the hospital's health education center.
Hospital officials were joined by members of the fire departments of Grayslake, Lake Forest, Countryside, Gurnee, Long Grove, Mundelein, Newport and Wauconda to honor first responders for their quick response and efforts that saved lives.
"At this annual event, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital joins our local fire departments to commend our firefighters and paramedics and recognize the team efforts that saved lives," said Thomas J. McAfee, president of Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. "Those first responders honored today represent the very best of our community."
The first responders honored were:
• Firefighters/paramedics Scott Rans and Robert Davidson of the Gurnee Fire Department who, while playing softball on their day off, saved the life of a man at a Waukegan Park District softball field who was not breathing and ha no pulse when they arrived. Working as a team, they started CPR and requested an automated external defibrillator. They were able to regain the man's pulse and breathing before the ambulance arrived.
• Firefighters/paramedics Cory Kazimour, Patrick Issel, Dave Tisinai, Lieutenant Stephen Grost and Deputy Fire Chief Chris Garrison of the Lake Forest Fire Department, who collaborated to save the life of a 51-year-old man experiencing a severe asthma attack. On arriving at the scene, the team found the man in the middle of the street, unresponsive. Immediately assessing that he was in respiratory failure, a King airway was placed, Epinephrine administered, and the team performed continued resuscitation during transport to the hospital to maintain a pulse.
• Firefighters/paramedics Paul Bilisko, John Spratt, Chris Russell, Scott Schrayer, Mike DaValle, Joe Studer and Lieutenant Scott Gaschler of the Wauconda Fire Department resuscitated a 75-year-old man who had collapsed and became unresponsive. The patient regained his pulse after the team delivered their initial defibrillation shock, and the crew continued to provide expert medical care during transport to the hospital.
• The successful collaboration among the Countryside, Long Grove and Mundelein fire departments saved the life of a teenager who, during a two-vehicle accident, was jolted to the back seat of the vehicle with severe injuries, including an open femur fracture and a closed femur fracture.
The firefighters/paramedics worked together to extricate her from the car and then successfully stopped her hemorrhaging before she was transported via ambulance to the hospital.
Those recognized include Countryside firefighters/paramedics George Tejcek, Joel Severin, Andy Rubenstein, Lieutenant Mike Dovel, and Battalion Chief Kevin Wodrich; Long Grove firefighters/paramedics Mike Lafin and Shaun Unell; Mundelein firefighters/paramedics Kurt Rodewald, Marek Kokosinski and Deputy Chief Tim Leidig.
• Lake Forest Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Issel and Battalion Chief Peter Siebert organized the Emergency Response System for the 2013 BMW Championship that drew 130,000 spectators to Conway Farms for eight days in September.
The task involved securing the health and safety of the players, volunteers, and 130,000 spectators, and coordinating a staffing plan for 75 firefighters/paramedics from multiple municipalities, 51 doctors and nurses, and members of the Lake County EMS network.
They also supported the security efforts of multiple agencies, including the Lake Forest Police Department, FBI, ATF and Homeland Security, Lake County Sheriff's Department, and Illinois State Police.
Issel and Siebert oversaw the treatment of 94 individuals and the protection of many others, including sheltering dozens of senior citizens in a period of heavy rains.
• Firefighters/paramedics Dave Myers, Steve D'Incognito, Marek Kokosinski, Kurtis Roman and Lieutenant William Lark of the Mundelein Fire Department responded to a call about a male pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle. He had been valiantly attempting to protect his wife, but after pushing her out of the way was himself struck and suffered severe multi-system trauma.
Working as a team, the firefighters/paramedics were able to care for injuries that included a deformed lower back, deep chest laceration, a fractured humerus, and bilateral tibia/fibula fractures.
They rapidly transported him to the hospital, removing him from the unstable environment, and laying the foundation for a strong recovery.
• Newport Fire Chief Mark Kirschhoffer is being recognized for his outstanding performance as Incident Commander, leading 12 fire departments from Illinois and Wisconsin that responded to a major vehicle accident involving a school bus packed with young children. Initiating Region X's mass casualty plan, Chief Kirschhoffer organized the transportation of 37 patients, most of them children, to hospitals in Lake County and Wisconsin.
• Grayslake Deputy Fire Chief Greg Formica and Lieutenant Mike Higgins led the implementation and training of a pre-hospital electronic patient care report for seven fire departments in the EMS region.
Not only has this system changed the way paramedics document their patients, it has also made statistical analysis more efficient and created a seamless bridge with the patient's hospital chart. In turn, this method of information collection has allowed the departments to enhance their tracking of quality measures to alter medical processes, ultimately improving patient care.
The annual A Cut Above awards are presented in memory of Anthony M. Gallo, Jr. of the Schaumburg Fire Department. Gallo was fatally injured in the line of duty on Dec. 16, 1977.