The Havelock Fire and Rescue Department has been recognized for its advancements in the care of heart attack patients.
The department has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Bronze Award in recognition of the implementation of measures for the treatment of patients suffering what is called an ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction.
“Havelock Fire Rescue is dedicated to making our department among the best in the country, and the American Heart association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for STEMI patients,” said Steve Coffey, chief of operations at the Havelock Fire and Rescue Department. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients.”
Coffey said the department has made changes, including how resuscitations are done, to improve patient care.
“It just recognizes the work and commitment and training that we’ve been doing the last couple of years trying to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest,” he said of the award.
Coffey said the placement of Automated Electronic Defibrillators in city buildings and in city police cruisers is part of that improvement.
“It’s made a difference,” he said.
He said another improvement is that rescue personnel can transmit electrocardiograms directly to the hospital during their treatment of a patient.
“There are time limits when somebody’s having a heart attack,” Coffey said. “You have to have a 12-lead (electrocardiogram) done within the first 10 minutes that’s transmitted directly to the ER or the Cath Lab.”
Getting that vital information to heart doctors quickly allows them to prepare to treat a patient before he or she even arrives at the hospital, thus saving time. Quicker treatment can not only save lives, but also can save damage to organs through lack of blood flow.
“I think it’s less than 90 minutes from the time we see them until they are having an intervention done,” Coffey said. “That improves survivability and outcome and they leave with their brain intact. They leave able to function.”
This is the first year that the association has given out the awards, which are based on data gathered by rescue departments for one year.
Because Havelock is a relatively small community with fewer heart attack patients, the department was not eligible to receive the higher level silver or gold awards from the heart association, Coffey said.
“It’s bad to say, but we don’t have enough people having heart attacks to have met the silver or gold standard yet, so we had to settle for the bronze,” he said.
He credited the work of department members for the award.
“Our folks have done a lot of work, especially Pat Lynch, one of our paramedic/firefighters who is the guy that has been submitting all the data to the American Heart Association Cares Program,” Coffey said. “We review every call that we’ve been on to make sure that we’re meeting the standards and that our folks are doing the appropriate treatment for the appropriate call and it’s made a difference. If you’re going to have a heart attack, have it in Havelock.”