EMS lauded for awards


Sampson County Emergency Services sent a three-member team to compete in a challenging scenario and placed 3rd in the Annual May Day Pre-hospital Paramedic Competition earlier this month. The team included, from left, Allen Harr, Paramedic; Chris Pritchard, Paramedic, and Devin McLamb, Intermediate.

In celebration of National EMS Week, the county is applauding members of its local emergency response teams for two recent accomplishments.

One of those, the Sampson County Emergency Medical Services has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud Sampson County EMS for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

Unfortunately, a significant number don’t receive prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments and its EMS recognition program recognizes those emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for patients.

Emergency medical system providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline, which helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines.

Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years and treated at least eight STEMI patients for each year.

EMS agencies also provide access to 12-lead ECG (electrocardiogram) machines, which measure the electrical activity of the heartbeat and can help medical personnel determine if a heart attack has occurred.

Those tool and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from awaiting hospital personnel.

“Sampson County Emergency Medical Services, along with our partner volunteer rescue organizations, are dedicated to providing superior pre-hospital emergency care to the citizens of Sampson County. The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care, and thus improving the quality of care for all STEMI patients,” said Sampson Emergency Management director Ronald Bass. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients.”

For more information on Mission: Lifeline, visit heart.org/missionlifeline and heart.org/quality.

May Day

In another recent accomplishment, Sampson County EMS placed third in the 3rd Annual May Day Pre-hospital Paramedic Competition in Durham for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience trauma, life threatening bleeding, breathing difficulties and other complications.

The UNC Trauma Center and Laerdal sponsored the competition, held on May 5.

As part of the competition, participants were offered a scenario that consisted of four patients — two were critical, one was dead on arrival (DOA) and the other was not critical. The team had to complete a rapid trauma assessment, manage life-threatening bleeding and breathing, give medications and perform other advanced life support skills while continuing to manage the patient until further help could arrive.

“Sampson County Emergency Medical Services, along with our partner volunteer rescue organizations, are dedicated to providing superior emergency care, treatment and transport throughout Sampson County. The Pre-hospital Paramedic Competition is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes of which improve the quality of care for all patients prior to arriving at the hospital,” said Bass.

“We are proud of Allen Harr, Devin McLamb and Chris Pritchard for their efforts to elevate their skills,” the EM director continued. “It is an honor to have those staff members recognized for their dedication and achievements.”

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