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Published on July 3rd, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Richland County EMS Receives American Heart Association Award

Richland County Emergency Medical Services won a national American Heart Association award for its efforts to improve the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

This is the first time Richland County has received the association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Award that recognizes emergency responders for their care of patients who suffer a ST Elevation Myorcardial Infarction, or STEMI – a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart.

“Receiving this award is quite an honor and accomplishment,” said County Council Chairman Torrey Rush. “It shows the men and women of Richland County EMS are well trained and prepared to provide a vital service of care to the community. They’re saving lives.”

The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify a STEMI, promptly notify a medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel. 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. Therefore, it is vital EMS crews are trained to begin treatment on the scene.

“EMS crews are often the first medical point of contact, so they have to be ready for whatever the emergency may be,” said Michael Byrd, Director of Richland County Emergency Services Department. “We strive to have one of the best EMS units in the nation, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is another way for our EMS crews to implement processes that improve the quality of care for STEMI patients.”

The award shows Richland County is committed to constant feedback, improving care through evidence-based guidelines and working collaboratively with hospitals, said Stacia Bell, director of quality and systems improvement for the American Heart Association.

“This means better outcomes for patients,” Bell said.

 

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