Suffolk EMS earns award

Published 8:15 pm Monday, June 5, 2017

The Suffolk Fire and Rescue Emergency Medical Services has received a Silver Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for the department’s efforts to improve emergency care for transport patients with heart attack symptoms.

Representing the department, Capt. Raymond Willet accepted the award from Dr. Peter O’Brien, co-founder of the Virginia Heart Attack Coalition, during a meeting of that organization in Lynchburg in May, according to a press release from the city.

The American Heart Association presented the awards as part of its Mission: Lifeline program, which seeks to train and equip first responders to improve the overall quality of care for STEMI patients.

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STEMI is a shorthand medical term for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. It is a type of heart attack in which an acute interruption of blood flow to a portion of the heart results in serious cardiac muscle damage.

First responders who have been taught to assess and identify patients suffering from STEMI and who have access to 12-lead electrocardiograph machines are able to quickly notify hospital personnel about the status of their patients, allowing hospitals to better prepare for quick intervention when EMS arrives with the patient.

Suffolk’s silver award was given as a result of the city’s EMS department having provided the 12-lead ECG to at least 75 percent of transport patients older than 35 who had reported non-traumatic chest pain, and for having delivered at least 75 percent of those patients to a STEMI receiving center within 90 minutes of having been connected to the ECG.

“Communication and collaboration among pre-hospital and hospital providers are the essence of Mission: Lifeline,” the press release stated.