The Richmond Register

November 24, 2013

Heart attack drill highlights importance of getting help fast


Special to the Register

RICHMOND — The importance of dialing 911 can’t be overlooked when someone complains of chest pain, said Jill Williams, spokesperson for Baptist Health Richmond.

On Friday, Baptist Health Richmond, an accredited chest pain center, Madison County EMS and State Farm agent Jerry Goble, teamed up to stage a Community Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC) event.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, Goble portrayed a victim who suddenly experienced excruciating chest pain at his office on Big Hill Avenue. His assistant Judith dialed 9-1-1.

The Madison County EMS team Rebel Roser, Jake Luning and Eric Dutton arrived within minutes and immediately began chest pain protocol during the initial stages of response, assessment and treatment. They asked Goble questions about his medical history while performing an electrocardiogram (EKG) to determine the type of heart attack and its severity.

EMS then relayed information to Baptist Health Richmond emergency department for preparation and immediate response with the arriving patient, Williams said.

Goble agreed to portray someone with heart symptoms for a staged STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction) heart attack drill.

The drill was designed to educate the community on the importance of calling 911, recognizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and getting to the nearest facility that can perform life-saving heart measures, Williams said.

“We know the importance of saving the heart muscle and the time it takes to get a patient from the field to a Cath Lab with intervention capabilities is critical,” said Dr. Ananth Kumar, medical director of Cardiac Cath Lab at Baptist Health Richmond.

“When it comes to heart attacks, time is muscle, so drills like these are important,” he added.

Williams pointed out that heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Heart attacks are becoming more and more prevalent among young and middle aged men, she said.

In more than half of the cases, a heart attack can be prevented with early treatment and before damage to the heart can occur, she said. Yet many people are unaware that early symptoms of heart attack don’t necessarily knock a patient to the ground.

“We believe by teaching the community EHAC, we can drastically reduce the number of deaths caused by heart attacks,” she said.

Director of emergency services and chest pain coordinator Dan Andrews said the drill not only benefits the public, but it “helps all of us in healthcare remember the task and priorities and what it takes to deliver exemplary patient care.”

Earlier this year, the hospital was granted state approval to perform lifesaving heart care around-the-clock through a procedure called “angioplasty.”

“Moments matter when anyone suffers a heart attack,” Williams said.