Gila River Hotels & Casinos’ emergency response staff saves patron’s life
September 15, 2017
Thomas R. Throssell
Gila River Indian News
In the following article the identity, location, and medical condition of the patient has been concealed for the sake of their privacy.
Accidents and life threatening situations can arise during the most inopportune and least expected times, which is why Gila River Hotels & Casinos’ emergency response team, working in conjunction with Gila River Emergency Medical Services (GREMS) and the Gila River Fire Department (GRFD) have been successful in keeping casino patrons healthy, happy, and at times, even saving their lives.
During a recent incident, a casino patron experienced a sudden life threatening condition where immediate treatment meant the difference between life and death.
Fortunately, Gila River Casino employs 14 security officers who are also qualified as EMTs throughout its three casinos; the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Lone Butte Hotel & Casino, and Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino.
Once the patron began suffering from their condition, the casinos emergency response team was dispatched to the scene.
Sera Ah Quin and Lisa Hunt found the patron unresponsive, which is when they deployed an automated external defibrillator (AED) and began performing CPR.
Quin, who is trained as an EMT, said this was the first experience she had utilizing her professional skills in a life or death situation.
“It was such a fulfilling experience,” said Quin. “I am so proud and humbled that this guest is now able to enjoy (their) life…as a result of my skills and frame of mind.”
“As an EMT, I am trained to burst into action on a moment’s notice. In the future, now that I have my first lifesaving occurrence under my belt, I will be even more comfortable and knowledgeable with the procedure,” she said.
Hunt, who assisted in the incident by performing CPR, said Quin kept her calm and told her to listen to the AED in order to keep rhythm as she performed compressions.
“As soon as I saw Sera administering the AED, I raced over,” said Hunt. “Our security staff is so fortunate to have trained EMTs on our team. That evening, I couldn’t even sleep since the adrenaline was so high. I felt like ‘Wow, we brought someone back to life,’” she said.
According to Mark Williams, Gila River Hotels & Casino’s Emergency Services Coordinator, while these types of life and death emergencies are not a common occurrence, it is vital for their staff to be trained for even the most difficult circumstances.
“This dramatic of an incident is not one that occurs every day, not even every year for that matter,” said Williams. “We are happy for its rarity, but it is a perfect example of why we must be prepared at any given moment.
Currently, there are 14 security officers who are qualified as EMTs, and they are extremely valuable pieces to our enterprise,” he said.
Working together to keep patients healthy, happy, and alive
While Gila River Hotels & Casinos’ emergency response teams are typically first on scene during a medical emergency on casino properties, they are but one gear in a larger machine that makes up Gila River Indian Community’s emergency services.
It is the job of the casino’s emergency response staff to stabilize a patient by utilizing an AED or performing CPR until GREMS and GRFD arrive.
In the recent case of a casino patron suffering from a medical emergency, GREMS and GRFD assisted with the incident then transported the patient to the hospital.
This teamwork creates an environment of quick and high quality care that keeps patients healthy, happy, and alive.
Kevin Knight, Gila River EMS Deputy Chief said,” We work very closely with (the casino emergency response team), they are usually there first…they start care and when we get there, we take over care and transport the patient.”
Chris Riddle, Gila River EMS Division Chief, said during high-risk calls, a GRFD engine and crew are also sent to help assist in performing high quality CPR.
“Especially during CPR or cardiac events, it is very taxing and fatiguing,” Riddle said. “High quality CPR should be done every two minutes, that is when the fatigue factor kicks in for personnel. On these types of calls it is always good to have those extra personnel, because every two minutes we are trying to cycle out (the personnel) doing compressions,” he said.
He added that a single paramedic performs 100 chest compressions every minute while conducting CPR. The level of physicality demanded while performing high quality CPR can be straining on even the most fit paramedic, which is why it is important to have GRFD on scene to assist in stabilizing high-risk patients.
Knight said providing high quality CPR to patients, is a team effort, and can be compared to a NASCAR pit crew.
“If you think about NASCAR, the car comes into pit row, and everyone has a very specific function,” he said.
“Nobody is doing anybody else’s job. For us someone is responsible for maintaining the airway, somebody is responsible for chest compressions, somebody is responsible for establishing an IV so we can administer life saving medications, somebody is in charge of rhythm interpretation and administering defibrillation, (and) somebody is in charge of documenting everything we do. We need a lot of people to manage this type of patient and the fire department and the casino emergency services are our partners in that,” he said.
Keeping people alive and healthy is job number one for the casino’s emergency response team, GREMS, and GRFD. By working together they are making sure that no matter the emergency, patients will receive the best care possible.
“The relationship between the Gila River Fire Department, Gila River Emergency Medical Services and the emergency response team here is a crucial one,” said Williams. “We all need to complement each other and work as a team. Since we are already on site, the short time frame we have to be first responders can make the difference between life and death, while the GRFD and GREMS race to the scene.”