LIMA — If you have a heart attack in the region, your outcomes could be better than someone in New York.
With people arriving at a hospital within 15 to 20 minutes of the reading of a heart attack in the Lima region, the opportunities for recovery improve. Now they’ll have an even better chance, with $200,000 worth of automatic external defibrillator, CPR compression devices and cardiac monitors donated to area first responders in Allen, Auglaize and Putnam counties.
“We have some of the best technology, the best doctors and the best nurses here, but what most people don’t know is we have some of the fastest times in treating heart attacks, even throughout the nation,” said Dr. Kishore Nallu, an interventional cardiologist and catheter lab director at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
The first responders are the ones who get the patients to the hospital, where they can get the right response quickly. The new equipment on ambulances and firetrucks improves the chances of surviving a cardiac episode.
“I’m coming from New York, where there’s a hospital every other block,” Dr. Nallu said. “And we didn’t have the kinds of times as we do here. A lot of people here today are involved in that.”
It’s a welcome gift for smaller volunteer departments, such as the Cairo-Monroe Township EMS. It will receive an automatic CPR device to place on its single EMS vehicle. Right now, if someone needs a heart-related device, Cairo’s department reaches out to American or Bath townships to use theirs or manually do chest compressions.
“It’ll free up our hands so we can do other things while taking care of people,” said Linda Buettner, of the Cairo-Monroe Township EMS.
Bluffton EMS will receive a LUCAS mechanical CPR device, said Rick Skilliter.
“These devices allow us to deliver consistent patient care with a limited number of personnel,” Skilliter said. “The reality of volunteer departments is we struggle to get ambulance staff, let alone staff for a cardiac arrest event. So these devices will make a difference.”
Departments applied for the funding in December. Mercy Health was able to fund 14 requests in the three-county area. Other Allen County departments receiving equipment included American Township, Lima Fire Department, Shawnee Township Fire Department, said Brian Anderson, EMS coordinator for Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
“We’re doing it this time of year is because February is Heart Month,” Anderson said. “… These guys and all of our first responders throughout this area are the first chance to change that chance of survival. We rely on them.”