General Cardiology Health Care

Deeds, not words, getting it done in Kentucky heart attack care

There I was sitting at the computer in between ablation cases. It was a normal Thursday. I was thinking about my next column over at A nurse from the catheterization lab came in and told me that Dr. Dillon was giving a press conference. He was announcing three major initiatives for heart attack care in Kentucky.

I knew he had been working hard lately, tweeting, giving talks. traveling around the state, writing letters to politicians, and meeting with EMS leaders. But I wasn’t thinking progress would happen this quickly. It’s Kentucky after all.

“A press conference, heh?”

I’ve seen how this rolls. I was off, notepad and recording device in hand. I put on my journalist hat. (It’s a beginner one.) There were TV cameras and reporter-looking dudes with notebooks. I was in the right place. I was a friend, but I also wanted to report the news.

If you follow heart news and care about real changes that make real differences in the lives of real patients, you will like reading about what Dr. Dillon got done. These are not extra check boxes or order sheets or a new name for something. These are three things that will (not could or might) save lives.

Heart attack care is about speed and jettisoning nonsense. The artery that is causing the heart to die must be opened quickly. We are really good at the process when patients get to the hospital. Where work is needed is before heart attack patients get to the hospital–“in the field,” or at “first medical contact.”

While you read about these initiatives, think back where we were a few years ago in Kentucky. I remember a time when many ‘experts’ thought EMS personnel shouldn’t be allowed to use AEDs (Automatic Electronic Defibrillators). What a mistake that was. It is now widely accepted that AEDs save lives. Heck, in the past month, I saw three young survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who were saved by an EMT using an AED.

I hope you want to read my feeble attempt at covering breaking news. Since it applies to the health of local citizens, I published it over at the Courier-Journal site, In the Prime.

Here is the link: Team efforts will improve heart attack care in Kentucky.


P.S. You will have to excuse my journalistic failure to remain neutral. Dillon is a best bud. And I love cheering uplifting stories in healthcare, especially those that make ‘meaningful’ changes in outcomes.

One reply on “Deeds, not words, getting it done in Kentucky heart attack care”

Nice coverage of breaking news in your state John! As stated – these efforts HAVE to help – and these efforts WILL save lives in the state of Kentucky. The 1,300-plus member EKG Club (on Facebook) is just one of numerous on-line web sites I’m aware of where national (and international) EMS personnel describe cases (and post ECG tracings) of symptomatic patients with acute STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction) – in which by allowing EMS personnel on scene to obtain ECGs – care that is needed can be tremendously expedited (immediate cath lab activation when acute STEMI on ECG is obvious; consultation with ED physician when questions arise). I’ve been tremendously impressed over recent years how good many EMS personnel can become at interpreting ECGs – some of whom are now at the least comparably skillful at recognizing acute STEMI as physicians. Emergent care of acute coronary syndromes is American medicine at its best. THANKS for reporting the advance in this area in your home state!

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