KENNEWICK, WA - It's a scary thing to see a heart attack happening, or even having one yourself. However, people in our area are well-cared for if it does happen. Trios Health recently became a Level I Cardiac Center.
It is those first minutes following a heart attack that makes all the different. Depending on where someone is when it happens, drive time can be substantial. Sometimes, that's a life-threatening trip.
"For every minute that the heart is not getting the oxygen and blood it needs, heart tissue is dying," said Captain Eric Nilson with the Kennewick Fire Department.
A nurse sits at a head nurse station every day. The person fields calls from a total of four phones. One of them is 'the medic phone.'
"We have direct EKG's. Rather than waiting for our medics to come in and show us what they've gotten or received in the ambulance, we can see right off the bat what's going on," said Registered Nurse, Janet Ruebsamea.
That is with the help of a machine. The ZOLL X-Series defibrillator monitor. It basically shows what is happening in a patient's heart.
"It allows us to capture that, print it, read it, interpret the rhythm, then transmit that data to the receiving facility," said Nilson.
"We love our medics. Our Kennewick Fire Department guys are top-notch and they really give us great information,' said Ruebsamea.
Captain Nilson says the most important thing is getting to the closest place.
"What matters is getting you to that critical intervention in the Cath lab wherever it is located. That, the critical message all citizens of the Tri-Cities needs to understand," said Nilson.
This technology is not new. Medics have been sharing information with hospitals for years. What matters is, it helps save even more time in figuring out where a patient needs to go.