In a continuing effort to improve cardiac care for patients suffering a ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)—the most dangerous type of heart attack—Beaufort Memorial teamed up with the emergency medical service providers from Parris Island Fire Department to practice its STEMI process, ensuring patients suffering this type of cardiac event receive expedited treatment.
“When EMS is called, they are able to get your care started sooner,” BMH STEMI quality coordinator Sabrina Faircloth said. “They will confirm and transmit the EKG and alert the emergency department staff, who in turn gets the process started by alerting the Cath Lab Team that you are on the way in.”
During this unannounced drill, a “patient” was picked up by Parris Island EMTs on the base and transported by ambulance to Beaufort Memorial, where the Emergency Department and Cath Lab teams ran through all procedures as if this was an actual STEMI emergency.
“These drills offer a unique opportunity for the Fire Department to interact with our receiving hospital and to test our abilities in the field as well,” said Parris Island Paramedic and Training Officer Nate Hildreth. “And they allow us to see firsthand how the STEMI system works once our patient reaches the emergency room.”
STEMIs occur when there is a sudden blockage of one of the three coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. Without blood, the heart muscle will die. To increase the patient’s chance of survival and limit the amount of heart muscle that is permanently damaged, the clotted artery needs to be opened as quickly as possible.
Standard of care across the US is less than 90 minutes from first medical contact to opening the vessel. BMH continues to beat this standard.
Remember that time is muscle. So, if you think you’re having a heart attack, please call 911 to get your care started sooner!