JCFR leads door to balloon time for six months straight

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    The Marines have competition to earn bragging rights, just as various other career fields have various areas where they can achieve top rankings. Even the Marianna Fire Department competes in the firetruck pull annually. Now, JCFR has bragging rights that is also saving lives. For six straight months now, they have come in ‘First Place’ in Door to Balloon Time at Southeast Alabama Medical Center.
    The door to balloon time is recorded at hospitals with cardiac-catheterization labs that do angioplasty. They track door to balloon time and that is, if you bring a patient who is having a heart attack into the receiving facility like Southeast, from the time the patient rolls through the door until the time they deploy a stint into somebody’s heart, that time is tracked. The average standard in the United States is presently 90 minutes. Brunner says that although that may seem like a lot of time, there is a lot of prep that goes into that, a lot of things having to fall right into place. Jackson County Fire Rescue consistently over the last six months, has had the best door to balloon time at Southeast Health in Alabama, beating out all the other agencies in Alabama and Florida that service that hospital.
    Brunner says his staff is well trained and continue to train for this, “We pick up a patient having a heart attack. Our paramedics/EMTs are very well trained in reading an EKG correctly and interpreting an EKG and through the technology that our Board has provided, we can press a button on our cardiac monitors no matter where we are in the back of that ambulance in the county, and we transmit that EKG through a cellular modem, and it comes to a computer at Southeast Health where the doctor is. As soon as it transmits, it prints out and the doctor looks at it and says, ‘yep, the patient is having a heart attack.’ We follow that up with a phone call saying we are bringing a patient to your facility, they’re having a heart attack, what we call a ST elevation Myocardial Infarction, a STEMI. We need you to notify the cath lab so that ER physician picks up the phone and calls the cardiologist and lets them know they have an ambulance that is 30, 45 minutes out and they’re bringing a heart attack patient, so we need the cath lab prepped and ready to go. The work on the back end gets that ball rolling so when the patient enters the hospital that team is ready to receive that patient. They deploy a team, and they go in through the vessel or the wrist and go directly to the heart and place a stint in that artery. There are many times that the hospital tries to track as many times as possible to try to improve on the process and the earlier that we can do the EKG in the field and recognize that the patient is having a heart attack and we transmit it with that excellent cutting-edge technology, the hospital can be there with a team setting and waiting. A lot of times those hospitals have to call in personnel from home and they have to come in and prep, get everything ready, have the cardiologist there ready to deploy the stints. So far, Jackson County Fire Rescue has set the record of a 42-minute door to balloon time at Southeast Health and that record has not been touched.”
    Brunner is proud of the accomplishments his crew has achieved but continues to look ahead, “We are hoping we can go a full year at getting the award. We are pretty excited about this.”
    He gives credit to where it begins, “This goes back to our training, having highly trained paramedics and EMTs is one component. We couldn’t do it without the technology provided by the Board and that is what I brought to them when I came back. We got online and got that going. We are able to transmit not only to that hospital but to any hospital where we send patients, Tallahassee, Panama City or Dothan, any of the larger hospitals. A lot of those computer systems within the hospitals, once they receive that EKG, they can send it directly to the cardiologist because he or she may be at home or on the floor and it will go directly to their phone. Every minute counts when you are talking about damage.”
    Brunner says his staff will continue to train to provide the best care possible for residents of Jackson County and thanks the Board for their support.

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