ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (June 27, 2019) — Alexander County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has earned the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Plus Award in 2019 for its excellence in the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.
Every year, more than 250,000 people 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.
“The role that Alexander County EMS plays in the lives of our residents is crucial and necessary because it impacts the patient’s immediate and long-term survival when having a heart attack. Since we don’t have a local hospital, EMS is especially important in Alexander County due to longer transport times to a hospital that is best suited for the patient’s critical care needs,” said Doug Gillispie, EMS Director. “With the majority of heart attack damage done during the first two hours, we encourage all of our residents to not delay in seeking medical treatment and to call 911 if they experience the symptoms of a heart attack.”
Gillispie praised the EMS staff for saving lives and helping the department earn the award.
“Alexander County EMS employees are top-notch in terms of skills, knowledge, patient care, and training,” said Gillispie. “I am proud of my staff and feel so privileged to work with these fine men and women who truly care about the citizens of Alexander County.”
The award application process evaluates the department’s willingness to participate in the most evidence-based treatments and guidelines established by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Mission: Lifeline® award criteria require proper use of resources regarding rapid identification and notification to appropriate facilities, which in turn ensures the most appropriate and available care for STEMI patients.
Several areas of measurement are involved in qualifying for this award, including the use of equipment with ongoing training which helps EMS employees to quickly identify and properly diagnose STEMI in the field, while initiating the best practice pre-hospital treatments available. In addition, the measurements include early activation for definitive care at appropriate facilities, which shortens the wait time at the emergency room which is critical to heart attack survival.
Heart attack symptoms could include the following:
• Pain or discomfort in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, which can be described as uncomfortable pressure, burning, squeezing, fullness, or pain
• Discomfort in other areas of the body including one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach area
• Shortness of breath, which can occur with or without chest discomfort
• Other signs of concern associated with the above symptoms could include cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness
Gillispie explained that the Silver Plus Award was the highest level possible for Alexander County EMS in 2019 due to it being the first award year for the agency.
“We look forward to continuing our efforts and excellent care of our STEMI patients, allowing us to be eligible for a Gold Plus Award in 2020,” Gillispie stated.
For more information about the Mission: Lifeline EMS recognition or heart attack care, contact Alexander County EMS at (828) 632-4166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Mission: Lifeline EMS Recognition
Mission: Lifeline EMS recognition is a program designed to showcase Emergency Medical Service organizations across the nation for excellent STEMI care. Prehospital personnel are the first providers of care to patients suffering from cardiac emergencies. The role of EMS in the system-of-care for these patients is crucial and often sets the course for the patient’s outcome. The Mission: Lifeline EMS recognition program is launched in 2014 and continues to celebrate the achievement of the pre-hospital providers and their collaboration with each other and destination hospitals specific to STEMI patient care. For more information, visit the website.