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Nash EMS honored

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BY AMELIA HARPER
StaFf Witer

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Nash County Emergency Medical Services recently was awarded the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Recognition Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

“Nash County EMS is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said Brian Brantley, emergency services director for Nash County EMS. “We are pleased that our employees are being recognized for their dedication and achievements in emergency medical care efforts through Mission: Lifeline.”

The Gold Plus recognition is the highest award level offered through the Mission: Lifeline EMS program. This recognition program, which was launched in 2014, is designed to showcase Emergency Medical Service organizations across the nation that are providing excellent STEMI care, according to the American Heart Association website. ST elevation myocardial infarction, also known as STEMI, is the deadliest type of heart attack and is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment, according to the website.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI event. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication, according to a press release from the Nash County EMS.

“Pre-hospital personnel are the first providers of care to patients suffering from cardiac emergencies. The role of EMS in the system-of-care for these patients is crucial and often sets the course for the patient’s outcome,” the American Heart Association website states.

The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel, according to the press release.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Dr. Tim Henry, chairman of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient. We applaud Nash County EMS for achieving this award in following evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

In Nash County, paramedics play an extra role in cardiac care through the Community Paramedic Program. Specially trained members of the Community Paramedic Program visit the homes of high-risk patients who recently have been released from the hospital or rehabilitation care or who are at high risk of needing help from emergency services for issues that could be handled at home by a skilled professional.

At her home on Wednesday, Ann Sumner, a heart attack survivor, congratulated her community paramedic Nicky Joyner on the Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Recognition award. Sumner, 66, was treated through the Community Paramedic Program after her release from Nash UNC Health Care.

“It was very reassuring, knowing that if I had questions, they were close by and I could reach them any time, day or night. And I did call them a couple of times to ask them questions when I was concerned about my heart rate or blood pressure,” Sumner said. “They were like the liaison between me and my doctor and that was very comforting.”