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Governor's PATH Award Presented to Two Rockford Area Medical Healthcare Providers

Press Release Date: May 6, 2005    || Archived August 24, 2005

Rockford Health System EMS/REACT and OSF Saint Anthony's Emergency Helicopter Service recognized for their help in reducing teen fatalities in Illinois

PECATONICA - The Rockford Health System: Emergency Medical Services (EMS)/REACT (Regional Emergency Acute Care Transport ) and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center/Lifeline Emergency Helicopter Service today received Gov. Rod Blagojevich's PATH Award - (People are Today's Heroes) for their help in bringing down the number of teen fatalities in Illinois. The award recognizes groups or individuals who, through their hard work and commitment, have improved the lives of people in their community in the areas of health care, public safety, education and economic development. The awards are chosen by and presented through state agencies. The Rockford Health System: EMS/REACT and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center/Lifeline Emergency Helicopter Service awards were made by the Illinois State Police.

"As we work across the state to continue to reduce the number of teen fatalities on Illinois roads, we need to stop to recognize the important contributions made by local organizations like the Rockford Health System and Saint Anthony's emergency teams. These two medical service providers have played a key role in the Rockford area and are great examples of how partnerships between the medical community, public safety officials, and school officials can succeed in protecting the lives of our youth," said Gov. Blagojevich. "These efforts are paying dividends -- last year teen deaths on Illinois roadways dropped to their lowest rate since 1974, the year collection of teen fatality statistics began."

Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent presented the Governor's PATH Awards to Dr. Dennis Uehara, EMS Medical Director, Rockford Health System: Emergency Medical Services/ REACT, and Ms. Deb Lovik-Kuhlemeier, Trauma Program Manager, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center/Lifeline Emergency Helicopter Service and their flight crews. "The safety education programs provided by these healthcare facilities are an important element in support of ISP's efforts to educate young drivers and reduce the number of teenagers killed on Illinois' roadways. By participating in mock crash exercises at the various Rockford Area high schools each year during prom and graduation, they demonstrate the very real "life and death" consequences of reckless and drunk driving. In addition, they also address the issue of teen highway deaths during driver's education classes and school assemblies," said Trent.

The Rockford Health System: Emergency Medical Services/REACT uses medical helicopters and ground transport to transfer critically ill or injured individuals, including trauma patients, cardiac patients, pediatric patients, and high-risk mothers and infants. The specially equipped helicopters pick up patients at regional hospitals or at trauma sites throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin and are staffed with flight nurses and flight paramedics who have extensive training in all aspects of trauma and critical care. REACT transports over 800 patients annually by helicopter and another 130 by ground transportation. Since its initial flight in 1981, the OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center/Lifeline Emergency Helicopter Services has logged more than 15,500 flights and was the first hospital-affiliated emergency helicopter service in Rockford and the 13th in the nation. The helicopter and its airborne emergency crew transport people from accident scenes and transfer patients to OSF Saint Anthony from area community hospitals. Serving the residents of Winnebago and Boone Counties, Lifeline ambulances are stationed in Rockford, Belvidere and Cherry Valley and each is equipped for advanced life support and staffed with licensed paramedics.

Additionally, Lifeline and REACT participate in the planning and execution of the many yearly PROM mock crash exercises that take place at high schools throughout Winnebago, Stephenson and Boone counties and occasionally assist at high schools located in surrounding counties.Organizers utilize exceptional artistic skills in the time consuming "moulage", (application of fake injuries), of students participating in mock crashes as victims. Flight crew members and support personnel assist with Drivers Education classroom presentations and with all-school assemblies which target the reduction of teen-involved crashes as a number one priority. Both organizations have developed educational programs involving powerpoint and video which effectively address the issue of teen highway death. Lifeline and REACT and their personnel are being recognized for their ongoing efforts in support of the Illinois State Police mission to reduce teen traffic fatalities.

Director Trent presented the Governor's PATH Awards on behalf of Governor Rod Blagojevich at the Pecatonica High School.

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