Donated EKG unit saves Woodhaven woman

Woodhaven, Mich. – When Karen Mazo donated several portable 12-lead EKG units to the Woodhaven Fire Department, she said she looked at it a bit like life insurance.

“I wanted them to have the monitors in place, but I secretly hoped they wouldn’t be needed,” said Mazo, a life-long resident and former mayor of the community.

On Sept. 2, they were. The department received a call at 4 a.m. that morning that a woman had fallen and needed assistance. A crew was dispatched to assist and paramedics took her vital signs as a precautionary measure, according to Lt. Mike Clark of the Woodhaven Fire Department.

“She hadn’t complained of any chest pain or anything, but she was extremely weak,” he said.

Using the 12-lead units, the paramedics discovered the woman was suffering from a third-degree arterial blockage. The information was transmitted to Oakwood Southshore Medical Center (OSMC), and the on-call cardiologist were alerted.

“Everybody was there by the time we got her to the hospital,” said Clark. “It greatly reduced the treatment time; everything worked perfectly.”
Clark credits the more detailed information produced by the 12-lead EKG machine as well as its capabilities to transmit data directly to an attending cardiologist with saving the woman’s life. Mazo donated the funds to purchase two of the units for the department—more than $50,000—to help Oakwood’s goal of providing the units to emergency services departments throughout its service area.

“I’ve always believed that I could make a difference in the community,” she said.

Fire Chief Jan Sikes said that belief has already paid off.

“It quickly proved itself,” she said of the EKG unit. “The capabilities of machine saved a life within the first two times we used it. “It’s a tool that brings a lot of confidence to the department,” she added. “It gives you a lot of confidence knowing the technology is there and ready for use. It’s a wonderful feeling being ahead of the curve instead of behind it.”