EMS among best in treating cardiac patients

Published 9:13 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

Davie County Commissioner Mark Jones already knew this.

If you’re having a cardiac emergency such as a heart attack, Davie County is one of the better places you could be. More than 40 percent of those treated by EMS workers, fire department first responders, and in some cases, family members coached at the moment by E911 communicators – survived.

The national survival rate is 8 percent.

The rate gave Davie the national Mission Life Line bronze award. Davie could have been a little higher, Jones said after hearing the report at the county meeting this month, if he had a heart attack last year.

He credits EMS and E911 dispatchers with saving his life three years ago. “The doctors told my wife if we had not called, I would not have made it. I am a walking testimony of what you do every day.”

The ranking didn’t just happen, said Davie EMS Director Brian Byrd. It takes training that goes beyond the walls of the EMS station.

Davie can take pictures of the heart and send it to doctors at the hospital while en route with a patient, often bypassing the emergency room and going straight to the cath lab.

EMS workers have “team focus” approach to CPR, staying at the scene with the victim for up to 30 minutes while providing potentially life-saving care.

“Hands on the chest, that is one of the most important things you can do,” Byrd said.

Each fire department has access to a mannequin to practice CPR techniques.

“They’re teaching hands-on CPR. Our protocols are making a big change in survival rates,” Byrd said.

Amy Craver, Baptist Hospital Heart Center outreach coordinator, agreed.

“I stand in one of the best counties in serving cardiac patients,” she said. “Davie has drastically improved its survivor rates. We’re sending patients back to their families.”

Joseph Ashburn is Davie’s EMS training director. The medical director is Dr. Darrell Nelson.