Burlington, News

First responders recognized for heroic, quick-thinking actions

City of Burlington first responders Nicholas Johannesen and Kyle Oldenburg received Brain Saver Awards (from left) Oldenburg, Fire Chief Alan Babe, and Johannesen (Jason Arndt/Southern Lakes Newspapers).

By Jason Arndt

Aurora Health Care recently recognized two first responders from the City of Burlington Fire Department for their heroic and quick-thinking assessment of a patient who experienced a stroke during a call in December.

Nicholas Johannesen and Kyle Oldenburg received Brain Saver Awards from Aurora Health Care before a Feb. 21 Common Council meeting at the Department of Public Works facility.

According to Carolyn Henderson, Aurora Burlington Stroke Coordinator, the two first responders quickly issued a stroke alert to hospital staff before they arrived at the facility to allow staff members – such as nurses and physicians – to immediately treat the patient.

“That made a huge difference for this patient,” she said. “The patient ended up having three procedures, was able to be released to rehab, and eventually was able to be discharged home with zero deficits.

“Outstanding work, and thanks for everything you guys do,” Henderson added, as those gathered in the room erupted in applause for Johannesen and Oldenburg.

Fire Chief Alan Babe beamed with pride about their actions, and said both of them followed protocols to perfection, including the critical alert to hospital staff.

“Four our department, it makes us all very proud,” he said. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do on that call. They initiated good patient care, scene safety, and were able to call out a neuro alert, which got the hospital resources going so they had an understanding of what they were coming into.”

Overcoming obstacles
Johannesen and Oldenburg said they encountered some logistical issues while responding to the call.
Oldenburg, who has been with the department for about 10 years, said the man was on the third floor of an older building that has some aging infrastructure.

“It’s an old building, and probably at one time, it wasn’t meant to be a multi-residential facility,” he said. “Some of the stairwells are narrow and steeper. It’s not as easy getting up there.”

Johannesen agreed, explaining that they took advantage a stair lift, which allowed for easier transport of the patient down the stairs and into the ambulance for transportation to Aurora.

Both of the first responders credited monthly trainings from Aurora for giving them the necessary tools to treat patients including those experiencing strokes.

Oldenburg said he didn’t even need to pause while treating the patient.

“I don’t think I hesitated,” he said. “I think that the training provided to us monthly kicks in, and it’s just instinct,” he said.

Oldenburg and Johannesen said the alert to Aurora Medical Center played a key role in helping the patient recover.

“The staff was prepped for that and expedited the patient care,” Oldenburg said.

“This basically gets all the faculty, nurses, doctors ready for that stroke alert,” said Johannesen, who has been with the department for a little more than a year.

Honored for recognition
The two first responders said they felt grateful for the recognition, especially since they regularly respond to patients in need of critical care, though at times, the outcome is sometimes less than ideal.

“It’s kind of nice to know the outcome was positive,” Oldenburg said. “We meet a lot of people on their worst days and not all of them are positive.”

“It is nice to be recognized for the good things,” Johannesen added.

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