Decatur County Hospital Provides Education for Families and Donates AED to Lamoni Public Library

Over the course of the last year, Decatur County Hospital (DCH) has been seeking Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the American College of Cardiology. Once completed this summer, DCH will be the ONLY Critical Access Hospital in Iowa, and only the 4th hospital of any kind in Iowa to receive this designation.

Part of this certification process includes educating our community on recognizing the early signs of a heart attack, and providing resources to the community to help those who experience a cardiac event. This year, we’re donating 4 (four) automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to locations throughout Decatur County which are accessible to the community. While there are many AEDs placed throughout Decatur County, more AEDs that are accessible outside of business hours are needed to provide a safety net to the community.

To celebrate the donation of our first AED, last week, DCH partnered with the Lamoni Public Library, Lamoni EMS, Lamoni Fire Department, Lamoni Police Department, Decatur County Sheriff, and Decatur County Conservation Board to host a safety night to educate families about early heart attack warning signs, hands only CPR, and other safety tips. With over 60 (sixty) people in attendance, and 20 (twenty) employees and volunteers from partner organizations, the event was a great success.

During the event, DCH staff provided handouts with information on symptoms that might indicate early warning signs of a heart attack. Some common heart attack symptoms that may start before a major attack include: chest discomfort, chest pressure, chest ache, chest burning, and chest fullness. In addition, there are some common symptoms that might not always seem related to the heart. These include: weakness, sweating, nausea, and dizziness.

These mild symptoms may indicate the onset of a heart attack. They may come and go for hours or days before the chest pain becomes severe. Early symptoms are called prodromal and can be likened to the prodromal symptoms of a cold. When treated early, prevention can take place to avert sudden death and cardiac damage. Early recognition and response saves lives.

If you recognize any of these symptoms in someone, it is important to encourage them to seek treatment and diagnosis to confirm the cause. Seeking early treatment at the start of these symptoms is the best way to recognize a major cardiac event before it happens.

In addition to education on early heart attack symptoms, Lamoni EMS provided education on hands-only CPR, which can help save a life if someone experiences an emergency. The Lamoni Fire Department, DCH Ambulance, Lamoni Police, and Decatur County Sheriff provided education on fire and law enforcement safety while allowing tours of a fire truck and an ambulance. The Decatur County Conservation Board presented information on hiking, camping, water, and other outdoor recreation safety. And, the Lamoni Library AmeriCorps volunteers ran a camping-themed craft.

At the end of the event, DCH presented Lamoni Library Director, Felicia Williams, with an AED to be installed in the library. The AED presented to the Lamoni Public Library is the first of the 4 (four) AEDs that DCH will donate throughout the county this year. In addition to donating AEDs, DCH staff will provide training to use those AEDs, and will help ensure they are tested on a regular basis.

DCH is constantly evolving to meet your needs, both within the hospital and throughout the community. If you are part of a business or organization that could benefit from early heart attack awareness training, please contact Shannon Erb, Chief HR & Marketing Officer, at 641-446-2345 or