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WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 29, 2011, 06:54 PM

New technology helping save rural heart attack victims

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - When Ryan Radermacher of Casselton drives the combine out to bring in the soybeans this weekend, he will have a new appreciation for this fall's harvest.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

When Ryan Radermacher of Casselton drives the combine out to bring in the soybeans this weekend, he will have a new appreciation for this fall's harvest. Just days ago, the 45-year old farmer suffered a heart attack at home. What followed minutes after the attack, is amazing. It comes as North Dakota tries to equip small town ambulance squads with EKG's to be used in the field.

Like many of you, Ryan Radermacher hops on the treadmill in the morning. But this is no leisurely workout. Ryan is in cardiac-rehab after suffering a heart attack at his farm just 4 weeks ago.

Ryan Rodermacher – Recovering from heart attack: “Started feeling the pressure in my chest - and both of my arms started to ache.”

But Ryan suffered little damage from his heart attack, thanks to something called the STEMI system, an effort to have a team approach in treating heart attack victims from the 1st EMT on the scene to the cath lab team at Sanford or other North Dakota hospital.

Ryan Radermacher: “I live about, as you drive, 40 - 45 minutes away and by the time they did the EKG in my driveway - and put me in the helicopter and got me to the cath lab and put the stint in - I believe was about 36 minutes.”

Dr. Tom Haldis – Sanford Cardilogist: “We always bypass the ER.”

Dr. Tom Haldis is a Sanford Cardiologist who saw Ryan in the cath lab that day. Haldis is helping get the STEMMI program up and running in North Dakota. Soon, small town EMT’s and hospitals will have the tools and systems to streamline care of heart attack victims.

Dr. Tom Haldis: “I mean we can get the artery open here in 10 minutes - I mean getting the patient from their house to here - is really the key part.”

For Ryan, This close call has been a life changer.

Dr. Tom Haldis: “I thank God everyday that I'm one of the lucky ones.”

Ryan is already out on the fields - combining soybeans and he's ready for this new chance and opportunity, something he knows not everyone gets.

The money for education and the EKG’s in small towns across North Dakota comes from a special grant, along with donations from hospitals and health systems across the state.

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