Awareness week highlights EMT student who suffered heart attack

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MADISON (WKOW) — Tori Smith, an advanced EMT student at Madison College, was in class on March 5 when she began to feel ill.

Her classmates planned to take her to the hospital and were about to leave the classroom when she went into cardiac arrest.

They quickly evaluated her—starting compressions within 15 seconds and calling 9-1-1 for help.

Based on the dispatcher assessment and coding of a cardiac arrest, the incident activated on the PulsePoint app.

Her story is being highlighted this week during National CPR and AED Awareness Week.

Dane County hospitals and emergency responders came together today to celebrate the success of the PulsePoint app in helping to save a 28-year-old student at Madison College experiencing cardiac arrest.

Connected with the Dane County Public Safety 911 Communications, the PulsePoint app alerts CPR-trained bystanders when a sudden cardiac arrest occurs in a safe public place nearby.

12 people were notified of the incident at Madison College through the app, including one individual who helped give direction, along with updates to dispatch and incoming EMS responders.

At the time of the incident, Madison Fire Captain and Madison College EMS Instructor Jen Román, a Jefferson Award winner, was teaching a class and had her phone on silent. The PulsePoint app still notified Captain Román’s phone despite its “silence” setting and indicated CPR was needed nearby. She stepped outside her classroom to find compressions occurring next door.

Captain Román proceeded to give direction, along with updates to dispatch and incoming EMS responders. The students and instructors continued chest compressions and AED activation until Madison Fire arrived on scene. Compressions continued for a total of 60 minutes before Tori had a return of pulse.

She was transported to UW Hospital where she made a full recovery.

“Having experienced my first save back in January, I gained even more respect for everyone involved in this career field,” said Smith. “From a provider who went to a patient in a matter of moments, to those who may never hear it—thank you. Thank you for being that light in someone’s darkest moments. Thank you for doing your very best to do right for a patient in need.”

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