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St. Luke's Honors Regional EMS Professionals During Recognition Event

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(Left to right) Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital:Rachel Johnson, RN, Jessica Ross, CCUC, Molly Lenoch, RN; MEDS 1 EMS:Nathan Siem, EMT-P, Stephen Sovada, EMT-B; Life Link III: Don Romano, CFRN; Nashwauk Ambulance:John Calaguire, EMT-B, John Flint, EMT-BThe 21st annual EMS Recognition Event was held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) on Tuesday, April 19. The evening honored EMS professionals for their knowledgeable and selfless service to the community. The Nashwauk Ambulance, MEDS 1 EMS, Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital, and Life Link III were recognized for their involvement with a ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) case. Each group received a plaque recognizing their quick response in caring for the patient. Receiving the awards were:

Nashwauk Ambulance

  • John Calaguire, EMT-B
  • John Flint, EMT-B


  • Nathan Siem, EMT-P
  • Stephen Sovada, EMT-B

Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital

  • Debra Nyquist, MD, FAAFP
  • Rachel Johnson, RN
  • Molly Lenoch, RN
  • Jessica Ross, CCUC

Life Link III

  • Don Romano, CFRN
  • Lars Starks, FPCC

When treating STEMI patients, time is of the essence. “Only 119 minutes lapsed from the time the patient received initial medical contact from the Nashwauk ambulance until the occluded coronary artery was opened and that is remarkable,” said St. Luke’s Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Scott Mikesell. “If it weren’t for the quick responses of the EMTs, paramedics, Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital staff, and Life Link III the outcome for the patient could have been much different.” According to the American Heart Association, each year in the United States, approximately 250,000 people have a STEMI caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment.

“We are honored to award the Nashwauk Ambulance, MEDS 1 EMS, Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital, and Life Link III with this award for their outstanding medical care for the patient,” said Stan Sadenwasser, St. Luke’s Cardiovascular Services Coordinator. “This is an example of extraordinary teamwork among entities and an example of improving patient outcomes by working together.”

The annual EMS Recognition Event is sponsored by St. Luke’s every April and recognizes EMS professionals by providing an education program, dinner and recognition of their time and efforts in the community to help others in need.

Description of the Incident

Nashwauk Ambulance responded to a call from an 84 year old male who was experiencing chest tightness and profuse sweating in September 2015. After performing a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), which identified that the patient was having a severe heart attack, also known as a STEMI, the EMTs requested a paramedic intercept with MEDS 1 Emergency Medical Service. The paramedics confirmed a STEMI and notified Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital, which facilitated pre-activation of the STEMI team and requested for air medical transport by Life Link III. The patient was flown to St. Luke’s and taken directly to the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, where the awaiting team under the direction of Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Scott Mikesell, were able open the occluded coronary artery. The ability of EMS to perform 12-lead ECG along with the leadership and teamwork provided by Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital certainly made possible this excellent patient outcome.

From the time of first medical contact with the Nashwauk ambulance to the time of the opened occluded coronary artery in St. Luke’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab, only 119 minutes lapsed.