Penn State EMS, police recognized for life-saving efforts for cardiac arrests

December 06, 2018

On Monday, Nov. 12, Penn State’s University Ambulance Service were recognized at the Survivor Celebration at Mount Nittany Health Medical Center for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association – Centre County Chapter, for their efforts during cardiac arrests on campus.

According to Robert E. Edwards, senior associate director for University Health Services (UHS), several student EMTs were recognized for three cardiac arrests saves over the past six months. Edwards also mentioned that several Penn State police and other responders and bystanders were recognized as well.

Dave Jones, Penn State Emergency Medical Services (EMS) manager, oversees the University Ambulance Services. He said that for many of the staff, this is the first time they have met a survivor of cardiac arrest who they have helped and it means a great deal to them.

“It helps affirm they have made a difference in this person’s life and the lives of their loved ones,” Jones said.

The event brings together cardiac arrests survivors and their families and those who provided medical care throughout the entire process. This includes those from the public, police, EMS and nurses and physicians.

Jones said this event helps fill in the gaps for survivors who typically do not remember most of the event and for the rescuers to meet those they helped save.

“It is very powerful as they share their experiences that allowed the survivor another chance at life,” Jones said.

The event includes, with the survivors' permission, a summary of the event from the time the call was made to when the patient was discharged from the hospital. Then, the survivor may say a few words ending with the recognition awarded to the survivor and the responders.

Jones says that this recognition affirms the quality of training provided to students and the value of the system built at Penn State.

“The cooperation of all local police, fire, EMS and hospital personnel who participated in these responses is notable and shows the commitment these groups have to the health of our community,” Jones said.

Along with several EMS staff, police officers and bystanders, the following Penn State EMS personnel were recognized:

  • Tiffany Spiroff-Walstrom, EMS supervisor and paramedic
  • Nicholas Romano, EMS personnel
  • Molly Basilio, EMS personnel
  • Alex Salzinger, EMS personnel
  • Matt Marinelli, EMS personnel
  • Samar Almarzooqi, EMS personnel
  • Jonathan Dembek, EMS personnel
  • Emma Shannon, EMS personnel
  • Brittney Fitzgerald, EMS personnel
  • Jeremy Habowski, EMS personnel
  • Talia Heinly, EMS personnel
  • Jenna Kotkevich, EMS personnel
  • Jessica Smith, EMS personnel
  • Kayla Letscher, EMS personnel

University Ambulance Services is part of University Health Services, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs. The University Ambulance Service is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health with a staff consisting of certified student emergency medical technicians, volunteers and emergency response professionals. Responding to roughly 1,500 ambulance calls each year, University Ambulatory Services has a main focus on students but routinely responds to requests from employees, visitors, and event and conference attendees.

Last Updated December 06, 2018