Suburban Heroes: Arlington Heights paramedic is EMS Instructor of the Year
An Arlington Heights firefighter/paramedic is getting statewide recognition for developing an intubation technique that's helping save lives, then teaching it to colleagues throughout the Northwest suburbs.
Andrew Hansen was named the Illinois Department of Public Health's Emergency Medical Services Instructor of the Year for developing a specific video laryngoscopy technique and creating a trial program in Arlington Heights.
He's since been instructing fellow paramedics throughout the Northwest Community Emergency Medical Services System. That consortium covers six hospitals and 24 fire departments and ambulance providers in the suburbs.
Since the technique was implemented in Arlington Heights, the intubation success rate jumped from 43 percent to 96 percent. Intubation is the placement of a flexible plastic tube into a patient's windpipe to open the airway or administer drugs.
"With his teaching throughout the Northwest suburbs, the performance of the procedure continues to excel over national bench marks and helps exemplify the Northwest Community EMS System as a national standard," said Dr. Matthew Jordan, the system's EMS medical director.
Jordan has worked alongside Hansen to personally teach the technique to every paramedic in the area.
Teaching his peers is nothing new for Hansen. He's spent years educating paramedics throughout the state and country, and coordinating medical device training labs for paramedic agencies, the military and for national conferences.
He was honored at a village board meeting in May, when he and six colleagues also were applauded for helping resuscitate a man whose heart had stopped in March.
"This award belongs to a lot more people than just myself," Hansen said of the state honor. "As with anything in our line of work, it all revolves around the team."
• Do you know of any Suburban Heroes? Share your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.