Working together to meet the needs of the patient

Through the combined efforts of Harmony ambulance service, Winneshiek Medical Center and Mayo Clinic, Bob Harri survived a heart attack.

Bob Harri knows the symptoms of a heart attack.  As the director of Security and Information Services at Luther College, and as a retired law enforcement officer and EMT, Bob has been around people during heart attacks before.  His experience led him to make the 911 call – this time, for himself.  “If I have any advice to offer, it is for people to pay attention to possible heart attack symptoms.  Even though I know the symptoms, I did not have them all, and was in denial for some time before I called for help,” says Bob.

Bob was feeding his horses when the pain and tightness in his chest began to increase from bothersome to significant.  “After taking a shower, I felt a wave of pain building again, and I knew I needed an ambulance.”  Harmony Ambulance Service responded, and quickly determined they needed the support of an Advanced Life Support service, which in the northeast Iowa/southeast Minnesota region, comes from Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah.

Steve Vanden Brink, paramedic and director of Ambulance at Winneshiek Medical Center says, “We met the Harmony ambulance for a roadside patient transfer halfway between the two towns.”  Technology in the Decorah rigs allows paramedics to identify heart attacks and transmit readings of cardiac activity to the WMC Emergency Room, where physicians help guide the best possible care for the patients.  Vanden Brink says, “Bob was having a heart attack, and the doctors in Decorah, in consult with the Mayo Clinic cardiologists, determined he needed more advanced care available at Mayo Clinic.”  He adds, “Every minute counts in a heart attack situation.  We met Mayo One helicopter in the Harmony Fire Department parking lot.”

Bob’s anterior artery was 100% blocked and cardiologists at Mayo Clinic inserted a stent to re-open his artery.  He spent four days at St. Marys before returning to his home.  Bob completed several weeks of cardiac rehab at Winneshiek Medical Center, and returned to work.  “I am thankful Luther has the facilities for me to continue the exercise program I learned at cardiac rehab,” says Bob.

“All the Emergency Medical Service professionals involved in my care perfectly followed protocol and likely saved my life,” says Bob.  “We are fortunate to have such skilled emergency responders trained and ready to help.”

Winneshiek Medical Center Ambulance is staffed 24/7 with 26 trained professionals who respond to emergency medical needs. One of the few ambulance services operating out of a hospital ER in Iowa, the service works closely with the Mayo Clinic Health System physicians who provide care in the Winneshiek Medical Center Emergency Room.  Vanden Brink says, “WMC paramedics continue to assist with patient care even after the patient leaves the ambulance, giving them additional experience and skill in treating medical emergencies.”  He adds, “Along with local first responders, our area has an outstanding group of people who are ready to help at a moment’s notice.”