Veterans Memorial Hospital will begin running drills for practicing their cardiac arrest program, which includes responding to the scene of a cardiac arrest and handling the arrest on scene to save precious time spent in transporting the victim to the hospital.  Download the brochure for more information


The Community Cardiac Arrest Specialty Team (CCAST) will respond to the scene of a cardiac arrest within the city limits of Waukon. This team will consist of the Ambulance EMS crew and paramedic, but also an Emergency Room Nurse and Physician, if available. If the physician is unable to attend, someone from the team will be in contact with the physician by cell phone. Working in an Incident Command systematic approach, the cardiac arrest will now initially be handled on scene.

Once the EMS and CCAST team arrives, the cardiac arrest will be handled slightly different than in the past. Instead of quickly loading the patient and transporting to an Emergency Department, the team will provide all initial care on scene. Law enforcement will assist and secure the scene.  Each CCAST team member will have a designated task which includes compressions, managing the airway, providing electrical therapy as needed and administering medication as directed.

“The biggest reason for this change involves the fact that chest compressions and automatic defibrillation are the two things that save the most lives,” states Jeff Mitchell, EMT-PS, EMS Supervisor. “By taking the time to move and transport victims of sudden cardiac arrest, chest compressions are either stopped or not done effectively. It has been proven that compressions are unable to be completed effectively up to 50% of the time during transport. This includes moving victims to the cot, getting them in the ambulance, transporting them in a moving vehicle and then moving them to the Emergency Room.”

On a national level, the cardiac arrest survival rate is only at 3-4%. For the areas that have changed to this new approach of responding to a sudden cardiac arrest, they have gone from the 3% to a 25% survival rate within 18 months.

This service will begin within the city limits of Waukon.  Once it is determined to be beneficial, expanding the coverage area will be considered.  For more information on learning CPR or more information into the CCAST, download our brochure, or contact Jeff Mitchell, EMT-PS, Paramedic/EMS Supervisor at Veterans Memorial Hospital, 563-568-3411.


Veterans Memorial Hospital


40 First St SE

Waukon, IA  52172

Veterans Memorial Hospital is a critical access hospital located in Waukon, a rural community in the very northeast corner of Iowa.