Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center
14502 W. Meeker Blvd.
Sun City West, Ariz. 85375
623-214-4359 or 623-679-5779
Surprise Fire Department
Assistant Fire Chief
14250 W. Statler Plaza
Surprise, Ariz. 85374
623.222.5022 or 623-764-0483
Partnership between Banner Del E. Webb, Surprise Fire Department saves patient’s life: Hospital, FD first in state to trial new digital 12-lead field EKG
SURPRISE, Ariz. (March 2, 2010) – When Stanley Garretson woke up at around 4 a.m. on Feb. 24; he suspected something was very wrong. Within 15 minutes as he was struggling with the pain in his chest it dawned on him – he was having a heart attack. What he didn’t know was that a partnership between Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center and the Surprise Fire Department would play a huge part in saving his life. The hospital and fire department are piloting a new technology that enabled the immediate transmittal of a digital diagnostic quality EKG from the field to the hospital and other users directly to computer or smart phones. This resulted in the timely treatment of Garretson’s heart attack upon his arrival to the hospital.
Garretson and his wife, Ellen, were visiting the area from Nebraska. She called 911 and the Surprise Fire Department responded within minutes. Their four-person team went to work connecting Garretson to a new 12-lead defibrillator/monitor. One EMT connected the 12-lead EKG to Garretson’s body; another EMT checked his vital signs and oxygenation while applying oxygen; one of the paramedics prepared the medication necessary to treat a heart attack; and the other paramedic coordinated the transmission of the EKG and vital signs. That transmission went out to PDAs, cell phones and computers of medical personnel who could respond. Back at the nonprofit hospital, the ED physician, Dr. Stephen Hawkyns, was alerted as the EKG appeared digitally on his computer screen.
“This team along with this new equipment is critically important to achieving success for our patient, “said Nathan Lewis, RN, pre-hospital coordinator at the nonprofit hospital.”
The strength of this new machine, called the LifeNet system, is that it uses digital packet technology, providing a very clear, diagnostic quality, digital image transmitted from the field to the ED and other members of the cardiac team.
“Put simply this system’s technology is the difference in quality between a cassette tape and a CD,” said Lewis. Both Banner Del E. Webb and Surprise Fire are very impressed so far with the ability of this equipment.
“The team, with their ability to have and use this new equipment, brings a new level of care to Surprise and the surrounding communities,” said Surprise Fire Department Chief Michael White.
“Our partnership with the Surprise Fire Department is already saving lives,” said Banner Del E. Webb’s CEO John Harrington. “The team of EMTs, paramedics, our ED and cath lab staff all understand that time is heart muscle when a patient has a heart attack. The quicker the response, which this technology clearly allows, the more heart muscle is saved.”
When Garretson arrived to the hospital he coded at the door, but the ED team were ready and waiting for him. Time is heart muscle when a person is experiencing a heart attack. Dr. Manoj Rawal, director of cardiac services at the hospital, was standing by in the catheterization lab prepared to insert a stent. Garretson arrived at the ED door at 5:32 a.m. and had a lifesaving stent procedure completed by 6:45. The clear, diagnostic quality EKG was transmitted to the hospital at 5:17 a.m. and automatically retransmitted at 5:26 a.m.
All in all about 15 minutes were shaved off the usual time for this process.
“They saved my life,” Garretson said. “Everyone has been so nice and supportive through this entire experience.”
Banner Del E. Webb is a 404-bed, acute-care hospital offering heart care, emergency care, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, cancer care, obstetrics and gynecology, outpatient services, rehabilitation and behavioral care. Banner Del E. Webb is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health care system with 22 hospitals throughout the West.
Editors/Producers: Mr. Garretson, Surprise FD personnel, BDWMC physicians and staff, Nathan Lewis, CEO John Harrington and Chief White are available for comment/interview about this case, the partnership and this lifesaving technology.