The donated five new portable EKG units to the Dearborn Fire Department that will help cut treatment time for heart attacks more than in half.
On Wednesday at Oakwood Hospital, members of the Dearborn Fire Department joined the Oakwood cardiac team and Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly to present the new technology–also known as the Life-Pak 15.
The national standard time for treatment of patients under cardiac arrest is about 90 minutes. However, recent cases involving the new EKG systems have resulted in treatment times less than 30 minutes by allowing EMS units to send information about the patient directly to the hospital from their vehicle.
Each unit runs about $65,000, which totaled a $165,000 donation, according to president of the Oakwood Hospital Guild Foundation, Paula Fulkerson.
“The doctors are informed; everybody knows what’s happening,” Fulkerson said.“It’s unbelievable. They can transmit all of this very important information so fast and it improves saving lives by 30 percent.”
Medical Director for Emergency Services Daniel Sheesley added, “In terms of quality and safety for patients, anytime we can save from the time of the heart attack to the time of intervention that saves muscle, which is very important.”
If a patient is suffering from a heart attack, there is no way of EMS knowing which part of the heart is troubled. Life-Pak 15 changes that. The device monitors the heart from 12 different angles, and the detailed images are transmitted to the hospital in real time.
The images are then taken to the emergency room in the catherization lab and sent directly to a cardiologists’ cell phone. Regardless of whether the doctor is on call or in the building, he or she can tell exactly what type of heart attack the patient is enduring and can prescribe the best treatment for that individual.
The portable EKG unit program began in 2009 in Dearborn. Before that, doctors were used to receiving information through EMS reports and had to begin examination from the moment the patient arrived.
Now, this technology has been adopted throughout the entire region. There are 17 new EKG units distributed throughout tetro Detroit in cities such as Taylor, Melvindale and Dearborn Heights.
Wednesday's donation to the Dearborn Fire Department marks a continuation of the already effective program.
“It’s the most significant contribution I’ve seen from a hospital to the EMS system or the ambulance system in my 20-year career,” said Jeff Beutner, battalion chief of Emergency Medical Services for the city of Dearborn. “Basically, wherever there are Oakwood hospitals in the region, this program has taken off. But it started right here in the city of Dearborn.”
“(The unit) is available on every ambulance in the city, he added, "and are in use every single day–24 hours a day, 365 days a year."