Community Healthcare System Grants Life Saving Partner Award to EMS Team

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on October 27, 2021 with No Comments

When a stroke happens, seconds matter. Community Healthcare System is lauding an EMS team who recognized that a Dyer woman needed immediate, complex neuroendovascular care and transported her to Community Hospital, a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Paramedic Janiece Cox and EMT Michelle Devaney, employees of Superior Ambulance Service, are the first recipients of the Life Saving Partner Award from Community Healthcare System. The award, created to recognize outstanding efforts of EMS personnel for critical lifesaving efforts on behalf of stroke patients, was presented on behalf of the team at Community Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center in Munster.

Based out of the ambulance company’s Dyer station, Cox and Devaney recently responded to a 911 call for a “sick person.” They arrived to find a 61-year-old woman complaining of neck pain that began when she was washing her hair. Among her symptoms, she felt a pounding headache and momentarily experienced blurry vision. 

“At first, we were just going to take her to the closest facility,” Cox said. “But then the more I thought about it, the more I spoke to her, something didn’t seem right. She was washing her hair, so what if she had a fracture? What if it was meningitis? It all points to the brain.”

In the ambulance, the crew measured the woman’s blood pressure, and the reading was so high, they thought their equipment had failed. The systolic-or top-number was more than 300, the highest reading on the blood pressure monitor. A normal systolic number is 120.

Community Hospital is Northwest Indiana’s only accredited Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Munster hospital’s stroke teams are prepared to act within moments of a patient’s arrival for the most advanced neuro-interventional services. This higher level of care and management also allows Community Hospital to serve as the destination center for complex stroke patients, including those arriving at Northern Indiana’s Primary Stroke Centers. 

“With strokes, the mantra is: time is brain.” 

In addition, Community Hospital has demonstrated the ability to deliver advanced, high-quality care for patients by providing the following:

  • 24/7 access to minimally invasive catheter procedures to treat stroke
  • A dedicated Neuroscience Intensive Care unit
  • Onsite neurosurgical availability 24/7 with the ability to perform complex neuroendovascular procedures
  • Treatment for large ischemic, hemorrhagic and other complex strokes

At the award presentation, Sonia Hedge, BSN, RN, neuroscience transfer coordinator for Community Healthcare System, told the EMS duo they are heroic.

“You dealt with everything that you could have and tried every intervention you could, and your thought process has this woman alive today,” Hedge said during the award presentation. “All of you are very much, in my opinion, her heroes, and I’m sure she would feel the same way. She’s very blessed to have had you on that call.”

Visit for more information about Community Hospital and its Comprehensive Stroke Center designation.

Staff from Community Healthcare System and Superior Ambulance Service gathered to honor Superior employees Janiece Cox, paramedic and 911 contract supervisor, and Michelle Devaney, EMT. The two are the first recipients of the Life Saving Partner Award from Community Healthcare System. Pictured, left to right. Back row: Rachel Renner, stroke data RN at Community Hospital; Robert Bradley, Portage station manager for Superior; Tristan DeFord, 911 contract manager for Superior; Ben Kresal, Merrillville station manager for Superior; Alicia Begeske, Highland station manager for Superior; Greg Ingraham, mobile logistics and safety manager for Superior; Jeff Wilken, Indiana operations manager for Superior; and Jonathan Meschede, LaPorte station manager for Superior. Front row: Alexa Szatkowski, research data specialist at Community Hospital; Diana Gutierrez, neuroscience patient flow coordinator at Community Hospital; Meridith Dorge, neuroscience patient flow coordinator at Community Hospital; Sonia Hedge, neuroscience transfer coordinator at Community Hospital; Janiece Cox, paramedic and 911 contract supervisor at Superior; and Michelle Devaney, EMT at Superior.

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