Delaware County’s Emergency Medical Services department has received the American Heart Association’s “Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award” for its treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.
“The dedication of DCEMS to the care and treatment of individuals suffering from cardiac issues is one of our highest priorities,” said Chief Mike Schuiling, director of Delaware County EMS. “I am exceedingly proud of the achievements of Delaware County EMS and our ability to bring the highest level of care to our county, even with its continued growth and development. This award from the American Heart Association is proof of our commitment to excellence in all that we do.”
Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the most deadly type of heart attack, according to county officials. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.
A significant number of STEMI patients don’t receive this prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments, officials said.
Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program honors EMS providers who perform 12-lead ECG tests, which measure the electrical activity of the heart and can help determine if a heart attack has occurred. They also follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines, enabling them to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify a medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.
Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years.
“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Dr. James Jollis, chair of the Mission: Lifeline advisory working group. “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 Delaware County EMS for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”