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Training Allows Local EMS to Transport Critical Patients

Patients being transported from one medical facility to another by the River Falls Ambulance Service can receive a higher level of care thanks to recent training in critical care transport through Chippewa Valley Technical College.

A patient in transport needing a unit of blood might expect that the EMTs or paramedics on board the ambulance to simply take care of it. However, it is not that simple. What emergency medical services personnel are able to do, and what they are prohibited from doing, are tightly regulated. Delivering a unit of blood, for example, requires training in critical care transport because of new regulations.

“Without this training we would not have been able to do the inter-facility transfers to the level we had been,” said Jeff Rixmann, director of the River Falls Ambulance Service.

Rixmann explained that many different medical emergencies or concerns can come up during transport. For example, some patients may require multiple medications, a ventilator, have arterial lines in place, or need special monitoring. With the higher level of training, emergency medical personnel can better evaluate patient status and provide more treatments, if necessary.

CVTC recently joined forces with Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, headquartered in Rice Lake, to bring a Critical Care Transport diploma course to western Wisconsin.

“We identified a need for critical care transport in the St. Croix County area, which represents the west side of both the CVTC and WITC districts,” says Terry Gonderzik, advanced life support program director at CVTC. “And State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf’s office had numerous requests for such training. We wrote a grant and were given the funding for four classes in this area.”

Classes have already been held in River Falls and Eau Claire. Rixmann was one of 11 members of the River Falls Ambulance Service to take the training. Another class was held in New Richmond last month.