Lawrence County EMS receives award

Published 10:36 am Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Designation for heart attack treatment

Lawrence County Emergency Medical Services recently received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award, signifying its stance in the top one percent of EMS agencies in the U.S., for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for acute coronary syndrome patients by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical guidelines.

More than 25,000 people annually experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack caused by blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. In order to prevent death, restoring blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked blood vessels or by providing clot-busting medication, is critical.

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Unfortunately, a significant number of STEMI patients do not receive this prompt reperfusion therapy, which is crucial in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments and recognize emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care and in improving the quality of life for these patients.

EMS agencies perform 12-lead ECGs, which measure the electrical activity of the heart and can help determine if a heart attack has occurred.

Lawrence County EMS goes beyond the 12-lead ECGs by routinely performing 15-lead ECG analyses, also following the protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines, in which the correct tools, training and practices allow EMS providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” James Jollins, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group, said in a press release. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alert hospitals. We applaud Lawrence County EMS for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

Agencies receiving the Mission: Lifeline Gold award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years. Gold Plus recognition is earned by completing measures beyond those required by gold.

“Last year, we received the Mission: Lifeline silver level because that was our first year and you can’t get gold on the first year. And this year, we got Gold Plus, which less than one percent of all EMS agencies in the country receive,” Lawrence County EMS Director Buddy Fry said. “Lawrence County EMS is dedicated to making our service the best in the country and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us improve the quality of care for all acute coronary syndrome patients. We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for all patients.”

Lawrence County EMS started on Jan. 1, 2011, replacing the Southeast Ohio EMS District that had previously served Lawrence County since 1973.

Fry and Lawrence County EMS will be presented with the award at today’s county commission meeting.