(L-R) AHA Mission Lifeline director Art Miller; Lisa Miller, cardiovascular quality and acute cardiac manager at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale; Union Co. Board of Commissioners chairman Richard Cunningham; Nathan Bressner, EMS specialist at Memorial Hospital; Union Co. commissioner Bobby Toler Jr.; Grant Capel, dir. of the Union Co. Ambulance Service; Union Co. commissioner Max Miller; and Brad Robinson, EMS coordinator at Memorial Hospital.The staff of the Union County Ambulance Service, which has been honored by the American Heart Association. Photo provided.

Heart Association honors ambulance service

The Union County Ambulance has received the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Bronze Award. The ambulance service received the award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

The ambulance service's special achievement was recognized at a regular meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners which was held Friday morning, July 8. The meeting was at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.

In announcing the award, the American Heart Association noted that every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction, STEMI, the most deadly type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, the heart association said that it's critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

Unfortunately, a significant number of STEMI patients don't receive this prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow, the heart association explained.

Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline's EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.

Emergency medical system, EMS, providers such as the Union County Ambulance Service have been trained to recognize these important clues when a 12 lead ekg is performed in the field and implement a protocol in conjunction with the Southern Illinois Regional EMS System from Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.

EMS providers can rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients; promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response that can direct these patients under protocol to a catheterization lab saving precious time and heart muscle.

"Union County Ambulance Service is one of 21 agencies state wide that has been recognized in 2016 for their outstanding work in this area of cardiac care," said Grant Capel in a news release. Capel is the director of the ambulance service.

"Union County Ambulance Service is dedicated to making our service among the best, and the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all acute coronary syndrome patients," Capel said.

"We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for all cardiac patients. This represents a team effort on the part of the Union County EMS staff in conjunction with our medical control from the Southern Illinois Regional EMS System."

The Union County Ambulance Service is a member of the regional system. Art Miller, the American Heart Association Mission Lifeline director in Illinois, was on hand at Friday morning's county board meeting and presented the award to Capel and the ambulance service.

"They do just an incredible job," Miller said about the Union County Ambulance Service.

Brad Robinson, coordinator of the Southern Illinois Regional EMS System, also praised the Union County Ambulance Service. "You've got a gem here in Union County," Robinson said. He described the ambulance service as "a shining star in our system."

Capel said the award recognizes the hard work of everyone on the staff of the Union County Ambulance Service. He said it "took every member of our staff to make this happen."


The Gazette-Democrat

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