PatientCare EMS receives national award


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls PatientCare EMS recently received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus Award.

The award was given for their improvement of quality care for patients who experience a heart attack.

About 47% of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside of a hospital according to the CDC. When symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath strike, the clock starts ticking.

“When you think about, hey I’m having a heart attack and 90 minutes later I’m in a hospital getting treatment, not just the emergency room but a cath lab with a team of surgeons, cardiologists in 90 minutes or less– that is amazing,” Scott Christensen said.

Scott Christensen is the clinical manager with PatientCare EMS in Sioux Falls. When a patient is experiencing a heart attack he says it’s all about teamwork– from not only PatientCare EMS but the Sioux Falls Police Department, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, and both hospitals in town.

“When they call us we do a 12 lead, we see they’re having a heart attack and we transmit that. The hospital is getting their part of it rolling as well,” Mitchell Witt said.

Mitchell Witt, a paramedic with PatientCare EMS says a 12 lead is performed by placing 10 electrodes, or small sticky patches on the patient which can then detect a variety of heart conditions.

And in just 6 seconds the test is complete.

Using the Lifepak machine hospitals can be notified in under a minute when a patient is having a heart attack.

Identifying heart attacks and quickly getting patients the care they need is why PatientCare EMS is now celebrating the American Heart Associations’s Mission Lifeline EMS Gold Plus award– recognizing EMS agencies for quality cardiac care.

“It measures achievements such as whether or not a 12 lead was done for a person having chest pain and then it also measures the time it takes us to do that 12 lead,” Christensen said.

Those are just a few of the steps Christensen says are measured when being considered for the award, and it’s all within a specific time limits.

“Sometimes we’ll get patients to the hospital in 40 minutes. And not just to the hospital, that’s to the cath lab where they’re able to remove the clot that’s in the heart,” Christensen said.

Christensen says the award highlights the level of care each patient is receiving, and most importantly that teamwork is saving lives.

Witt says the symptoms of a heart attack can differ depending on your gender.

To find out what to watch for, click here.

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