Hopkins County EMS has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. Brent Smith, Director of EMS at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital said Hopkins County EMS is dedicated to making our EMS agency among the best in the country, and AHA’s Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all STEMI patients. STEMI is ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication. Smith says from the time of arrival at a home and arrival at the hospital, no more than 90 minutes can be taken.
When the ambulance arrives at the hospital, Nolen Willis, Director of the Cath Lab at the hospital, and his team meet the patient at the door to begin their work to open the vessel to save heart tissue.
Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, said, “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 alerts hospitals. We applaud Hopkins County EMS for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”
KSST News Director spoke with Smith and Willis about their work, their equipment, and steps they take in caring for heart patients.