EMS recognized by AHA for quick response time


Sussex County Emergency Medical Services were recognized on July 24 before the Sussex County Council, for receiving the American Heart Association’s Mission LifeLine Gold Award.

“Every day, our paramedics come to work to go out and do a good job and provide quality service. We never know what that day is going to entail,” said Robert March, Sussex County paramedic. “At the top of that list is treating heart attack patients and those suffering from strokes.”

Last year, the Sussex County paramedics received the 2017 American Heart Association’s Mission LifeLine Silver Award. Not resting on their laurels, the paramedics then worked to improve their rating even further.

“The Heart Association recommends that, from the time we arrive at a patient to completing an EKG, that that gets done within the first 10 minutes. We’re generally 94 percent compliant with that 10-minute window,” explained March.

“Another key component is quickly notifying the receiving hospitals that ‘We have a patient and we want to get them to you as quickly as possible. Start getting your teams together.’ The hospitals look at a ‘balloon time’ — from the time the patient arrives at the hospital to the point they’re in the [catheterization] lab and open up that balloon to open up that cardiac artery — looking at having that done within 90 minutes.

March said, “97 percent of the time in 2017, from the time we arrived to the patient to the time that balloon was inflated in the lab was less than 90 minutes. Our paramedics have done an outstanding job with recognizing these heart attack patients and calling the hospitals, and the hospitals taking us at our word, getting this treatment started as quickly as possible.”

“I’m very pleased with the progress and quick responses from Sussex County EMS. We’re all benefitting from that,” said AHA’s Karen Gritton, director of development.

Gritton also presented the paramedics with a Delaware AHA award for their efforts in training citizens in CPR.

“Every year, the Sussex County EMS comes to our heart walk in Georgetown at DelTech’s campus and demonstrates CPR at our event,” she said. “We’re trying to figure out how many people we’ve trained and impacted. In Delaware so far, the AHA believes we’ve trained about 45,000 people. We think Sussex County might be responsible for about 5,000.”

The County Council praised the Sussex County paramedics for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of the county.

“Thank all of you for the job you do for our citizens,” said Council President Michael H. Vincent. “You do a great job.”

By Maria Counts
Staff Reporter