Mercyhealth and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office Recognize Deputies for Lifesaving Efforts

ROCKFORD, Illinois- Today, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and Mercyhealth hosted a special event to recognize the bravery, professionalism and lifesaving efforts of one of the county’s deputies and a Northwest Fire Protection District firefighter.

Recently, Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Ferruzza went above and beyond for a patient in distress. It all started with a 911 call that was dispatched to the Northwest Fire Protection District and Sheriff’s Office. A patient was reportedly in and out of consciousness. Northwest Fire Deputy Chief Ryan Alms arrived on scene to find Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Ferruzza running to the site with an AED in his hand. The patient was found pulseless and not breathing. CPR was initiated immediately and an airway was established.

The two of them administered four shocks with the AED and continued CPR. Before the ambulance and Mercyhealth MD-1 Physician arrived on scene, the patient started to regain consciousness. Today, Sheriff’s Deputy Ferruzza was awarded the Lifesaving Pin from Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana. Northwest Fire Deputy Chief Alms was given a Challenge Coin from Sheriff Caruana.

“The coin isn’t given to a member outside of the Sheriff’s Office very often,” said Deputy Chief Dominick Barcellona. “Only a handful of people have gotten these outside of the department.”

Alms and Ferruzza were trained by Mercyhealth Prehospital and Emergency Services paramedic educators in the use of first aid, CPR and automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

Today, Sheriff Caruana and Mercyhealth’s MD-1 team attended a special roll call to explain the unique partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and Mercyhealth that ultimately helped lead to a positive outcome for the patient through the heroic actions of the deputies.

“When I first became the Winnebago County Sheriff, we needed a health system to partner with for this type of training,” said Caruana. “I’ve been happy to bring the Mercyhealth MD-1 team on board for providing any medical care we may need, whether it be on our saturation patrols or day-to-day calls.”

To date the Mercyhealth Development Foundation has provided approximately 150 AEDs to the communities and regions we served. On top of that, the Mercyhealth Prehospital and Emergency Services Center provides ongoing training to the deputies every two years so they remain certified.

“Because of the quick actions and lifesaving efforts by Deputy Chief Alms and Sheriff’s Deputy Ferruzza the patient is alive,” said Dr. John Pakiela, associate medical director of REACT and emergency medicine physician at Mercyhealth. “Mercyhealth is forever grateful for these two. They deserve the highest of praise for their work in saving this patient’s life.”

An AED is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. If not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death.

As a community leader in CPR, first aid and emergency cardiovascular care (ECC), training and education, Mercyhealth offers a variety of options to learn life saving skills. Each year, Mercyhealth Prehospital and Emergency Services Center trains more than 8,000 hospital and community participants in basic and advanced life support skills both at the center and on site.


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