For the sixth year in a row, Delaware County’s Emergency Medical Services Department has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. This year’s award makes them one of only eight EMS agencies in Ohio, out of nearly 1,500, to receive this national honor every year since its inception.
Each year, more than 250,000 people in the U.S. experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a 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 mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.
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 EMS agencies 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.
One of the standards to be met is transport of STEMI patients from the moment an EMS team arrives on scene to a STEMI receiving center within 90 minutes.
“With the size of this county, that can be a tough standard to meet,” said Eric Burgess, DCEMS Interim Chief, “so we are especially pleased that we continue to meet it.”
Alex Kuhn, the American Heart Association’s senior director for quality improvement, who presented the award to DCEMS at the Delaware County Board of Commissioners’ session on June 20, said that 615 agencies across the U.S. have earned the Gold Award this year and 99 in Ohio have.
“But the fact that Delaware County has earned it every year since 2014 when we started the program is very unique,” Kuhn said.
For more information about Delaware County EMS, go to www.ems.co.delaware.oh.us.