Friday, February 20, 2015

Kaiser forces delay for heart attack patients when every minute counts

Delays in Important Treatment?

Paramedics are supposed to take heart attack patients to the closest, medically appropriate, hospital. But, NBC7 Investigates found this is not always happening.

If you're having a heart attack, cardiologists say getting to the right hospital within 90 minutes is key for survival.
“If you are able to open that artery within 90 minutes, the chances of that patient having a good outcome is excellent,” interventional cardiologist Dr. Vimal Nanavati said.
If you're having the most serious kind of heart attack, called an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), where your heart artery is completely blocked, getting to a STEMI receiving center is critical.
“Every minute counts,” said Nanavati.
Thirteen San Diego County hospitals have STEMI receiving centers with catheterization labs that can unclog the blocked arteries in a patient's heart.
Robert Quittner has been a paramedic for over 10 years with San Diego Rural/Metro. He said a contractual agreement between two local hospitals is making him question the profession he loves.
"We became paramedics to take care of people," he said. "We're delaying their care. We're causing more damage to the heart."
Quittner is referring to a 30-year cardiovascular partnership between Kaiser Hospital in Grantville and Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
Kaiser Hospital does not have a STEMI receiving center, so its STEMI patients are transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla for treatment.
Seven of the county's 13 STEMI receiving centers are closer to Kaiser Hospital than Scripps La Jolla, including Scripps Mercy, Alvarado, Sharp Memorial and UCSD Medical Center. Naval Medical Center is also included in the 13 facilities and has a STEMI receiving center...

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