Pictured, from left to right, are: Dr. J. Jeffery Marshall, chief of Northside Cardiovascular Institute; Fire Medic Zack Roberts; Fire EMT Grayson Pierce; BCES EMS coordinator Capt. Marty Garner; Jason Grady, system manager for emergency cardiac care at Northside Hospital; and Mark Peters, EMS liaison for Northside Hospital.

On March 30, several visitors from Northside Hospital System came to Station 3 to meet with personnel with Barrow County Emergency Services in order to recognize them as part of a recent lifesaving effort. In this case, the ambulance crew was part of a true continuum of care that allowed a patient to go from cardiac arrest to recovering and starting back to living a normal life.

“When a person goes in to cardiac arrest, there is a continuum of care that needs to be initiated immediately and continued without interruption in order to give them the best chance of survival,” Capt. Marty Garner of BCES said in a news release. “It starts with citizens knowing how to perform CPR immediately. This is the first step and can truly mean the difference between life and death.”

The next step in the continuum is emergency medical services, and this was the purpose of the visit. The ambulance crew of Grayson Pierce and Zack Roberts had responded to a cardiac arrest call at the Brad Akins YMCA in Winder. The patient had suffered sudden cardiac arrest and CPR had been immediately initiated. The patient had also received a shock from an AED prior to EMS arrival. The ambulance crew started assessing the patient upon arrival to determine their condition and initiate treatments, according to the release.

“Paramedics spend several years in school learning about patient care and treatment,” Garner said. “Our protocols allow them to utilize their education and experience to make critical decisions in the best treatments of their patients. They also work in an ever-changing emergency environment where they learn to deal with chaotic scenes and stress. We want to allow them to put all of this to work for the patient.”

Part of the continuum of care that EMS is knowing which hospital is best suited for the patient’s medical condition. In some cases, the nearest hospital may not be the most appropriate hospital and this was the case on this event. The crew made the correct decision to go to a hospital that was best equipped for possible treatments needed based on patient condition and history, officials said. From the incident location, there was actually two hospitals closer, but Northside Gwinnett was the closest one to offer the treatments needed by the patient. With the training and enhancements of prehospital care offered now, an ambulance can stabilize a patient and transport to the proper locations to get the patient to the best treatment facility. This reduces the time it can take to initiate the additional care, reduce the impact on the patients’ health due to the emergency and reduce costs and stress on the patient, officials said.

Another step in the continuum of care provided by EMS is the advanced notice of the patient condition to the receiving hospital. With the always changing technology, training and patient care protocols, BCES can create an accurate picture for the hospital on the patient condition. This allows the hospital system the opportunity to prepare for the arrival of the patient, therefore further reducing the time it takes for the patient to receive the further treatment they need.

“We want to thank Dr. Jeffery Marshall, Mark Peters and Jason Grady from Northside Hospital for taking the time to come and recognize Zack and Grayson for the efforts they performed that led to a great outcome for our patient,” officials said. “We also thank them for recognizing the incredible services offered by all our EMS personnel in Barrow County.”

Citizens are a huge part of the continuum of care, officials said, adding that the more citizens that know how to perform CPR, and even Stop the Bleed, the better chances other citizens have of surviving a life-threatening emergency.

“In the case of cardiac arrest the most effective treatment given for a person to survive is the immediate initiation of CPR,” Garner said. “This can dramatically improve the odds of survival which means every citizen that knows CPR, truly has the chance of saving a life.”


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