New Castle County first responders saved the lives of more people whose hearts stopped beating last year than any other year on record.
The county joined a national data registry in 2009 to track the number of people resuscitated. The registry was formed in response to a USA Today article spotlighting the disparity between out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates in different jurisdictions across the country, county health officials say.
New Castle County’s count of total lives saved has gone up each year since—with 52 people surviving life threatening cardiac arrest in 2017. But county EMS Chief Lawrence Tan says New Castle has always ranked high among jurisdictions reporting to the national registry.
“The national average of survival rates has pretty much plateaued, but in New Castle County we are continuing an upward trend of improved survival, so clearly we are doing some things that are continuing to improve out-of-hospital survival for cardiac arrest,” said Chief Tan.
Tan credits the success to programs promoting bystander CPR, a more proactive emergency communication center and improved resuscitation training for first responders. He also says interagency cooperation has played an important role.
“If there’s a potential cardiac arrest case, we’re not only dispatching fire departments and basic life support ambulances with the paramedics, but we’re also dispatching police officers, who are trained in CPR and many of which are carrying AEDs or Automatic External Defibrillators in their patrol cars,” said Tan.
New Castle County hosted its annual sudden cardiac arrest survivors reunion dinner last week.