Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) has received the American Heart Association's (AHA) 2020 Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.
"LFR takes great pride in providing a high level of medical care to our community, but it certainly boosts morale, even more, when we get recognition year after year from our national EMS colleagues on proof of these efforts," said Fire Chief Michael Despain. "I'm grateful for the men and women of LFR that strive every day to provide the care I'd want for my family in a time of crisis."
Despain reports that every year, more than 250,000 people in the U.S. experience the deadliest type of heart attack - an ST elevation myocardial infarction or STEMI - which is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. To prevent death, it's critical to restore blood flow quickly, he said.
When responding to heart attacks, LFR uses electrocardiogram (EKG) machines with 12 connections to the patient to determine if blood flow to the heart is blocked. The EKG information is sent by cellular modem to the emergency room where doctors review the results and share them with a cardiologist by cell phone. When patients arrive at the hospital, they often do not need to stop in the emergency room but can go directly to the catheterization lab for a balloon angioplasty to open the blocked artery.
LFR also follows protocols derived from AHA/American College of Cardiology guidelines. These tools, training, and practices allow emergency medical providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the hospital and trigger an early response from hospital staff. Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline® Gold Plus Award have consistently demonstrated compliance for each required achievement measure for six years and above and beyond criteria identifying LFR as a Gold Plus recipient for the past four years. Lincoln Fire and Rescue is the only agency receiving the Gold Plus Award this year in Nebraska.
On Monday, September 28, LFR will recognize six Lincoln residents who helped save the life of a heart attack victim in August. After noticing that the man was suffering a cardiac event, they performed CPR, activated the EMS system and defibrillated prior to the arrival of LFR. The STEMI was recognized by LFR paramedics who transported the patient directly to the catheterization lab at CHI Nebraska Heart Hospital.
"This case illustrates the perfect pre-hospital scenario and patient outcome. The bystander intervention combined with the competence of our paramedics and EMTs at LFR completes the chain of survival. I continue to be proud of our providers here at LFR." said Chief of EMS Roger Bonin.