Mirror report

The Midlothian Fire Department has received the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award for its Emergency Management Service (EMS) implementation of quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction* (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. "ST elevation" refers to a particular pattern on an EKG heart tracing and "myocardial infarction" is the medical term for a heart attack. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medicine.

The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training, and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

"Midlothian EMS Services is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart-attack patients," said Kevin Cunningham, Midlothian’s EMS battalion chief. "We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care efforts through Mission: Lifeline."

"Emergency medical technicians and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks," said Tim Henry, M.D., chair of the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. "Since they are often the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming patient. We applaud Midlothian Fire Department for achieving this award."

Midlothian Fire Department employs 60 firefighters/paramedics that work in three different platoons.