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3 Pa. emergency crews lauded for cardiac patient treatment

Mission: Lifeline is an American Heart Association initiative looking to improve pre-hospital cardiac patients care

By Matthew Nojiri
The Reading Eagle

READING, Pa. — Three Berks County emergency medical crews are among the elite when it comes to helping patients suffering from severe heart attacks, Alexander Kuhn said during an event at Reading Hospital.

"Berks County should be very proud of these pre-hospital care providers," said Kuhn, senior director of Mission: Lifeline, an initiative from the American Heart Association looking to improve treatment for cardiac patients before they arrive at the hospital.

On Thursday, doctors, elected officials and emergency medical workers headed to the hospital to recognize three Berks County ambulance crews for providing lifesaving care for heart attack patients.

Mission: Lifeline recognized the Western Berks Ambulance Association and Southern Berks Regional EMS with the Silver Award.

Reading Fire Department's EMS division received the Bronze Award.

The Mission: Lifeline awards are given to EMS crews based on how often chest pain patients receive an electrocardiogram, or an EKG, in transit to the hospital and how long it takes severe heart attack patients to be treated and transported.

Kuhn said treating cardiac patients starts long before they reach the hospital, and that the emergency crews play a vital role in care.

"The technology has advanced so far that we can do so much before we get to the hospital," said Deputy Chief Jim Conrad, head of emergency medical services for the Reading Fire Department. "It really makes a difference."

Reading Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer, State Rep. Mark M. Gillen, a Robeson Township Republican, and a representative of State Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, were on hand to celebrate the EMS crews.

"You folks are the backbone," Gillen said. "You make it happen, day in and day out."

During the event, the hospital staff and EMS providers said they work together to save patients suffering from heart attacks. The EMS crews start treatment and transmit patient EKGs to the hospital, where doctors get an early start planning treatment options.

There was one other important message from the event: If you have heart attack symptoms, call 9-1-1 so the crews can spring to action.

"We've got to get the people to call more," said Martin Raniowski, deputy secretary for the state Department of Health. "Far too many people are driving themselves (to hospitals)"


(c)2014 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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