Thanks to a donation of more than $44,000 from the Rideout Foundation, the Penn Valley Fire Department's two ambulances will soon be equipped with wireless EKG machines and PV paramedics will be trained in their use. As a result, the residents in the Penn Valley Fire Protection District (PVFPD) of western Nevada County, including PV and Lake Wildwood, will be closer in time and distance to the advanced life-saving cardiac treatments available at The Heart Center at Rideout Memorial Hospital that are so vital in the initial period after a heart attack.
"Time is heart muscle, and the first 90 minutes are critical," said Robert Plass, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Rideout Health Group, the non-profit community healthcare system that operates Rideout Memorial Hospital, a Level III Trauma Center also designated as a "STEMI Receiving Center," staffed with cardiac specialists including interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, specialized nurses and ancillary staff who are equipped to handle even the most serious heart attacks. (STEMI is medical shorthand for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, an attack caused by clots in one or more of the patient's coronary arteries.)
In the absence of EKG capability, Penn Valley paramedics have had to transport heart attack victims to a nearby hospital for stabilization and then to a Sacramento hospital for treatment, adding more than an hour from home to heart-saving.
With the new wireless machines installed, the ambulance can proceed directly to The Heart Center at Rideout Memorial Hospital, less than 30 miles away, transmitting the patient's cardiac status from the vehicle to the hospital. This allows for the diagnosis and treatment plan to be put in place by the emergency and cardiac teams at the hospital while the ambulance is still en route, so the appropriate clinical team is already standing by when the patient comes through the door.
Eric Morgenroth, RN, CEN, BSN, a Clinical Educator for Rideout Memorial Emergency Department, will train 14 paramedics in a multi-day course scheduled for completion by mid-March, after installation of the EKG machines. The curriculum was developed in consultation with Capt. Clayton Thomas, Paramedic and QI Coordinator for the PVFPD, and George Broder, M.D., who heads the Rideout Specialty Care Center in Penn Valley. It was Dr. Broder, who is Board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases, who saw the need for the ambulance EKG machines and proposed the donation and facilitated the new cooperation between the Fire Dept. and Fremont-Rideout.
The PVFPD is located at 10513 Spenceville, Rd., Penn Valley; 530-432-2630. The Rideout Specialty Care Center is located at 11386 Pleasant Valley Rd., Penn Valley; 530 205-9850. The Heart Center at Rideout, is a STEMI designated center offering the full spectrum of life-saving interventional procedures, from minimally invasive PCIs [Percutaneous Coronary Intervention], such as angioplasty, to open heart surgery/bypass, are located at 725 Fourth St., Marysville; 530 749-4458. Persons who believe they or a loved one may be suffering a heart attack should immediately call 911 for assistance.