When Seconds Count

June 01, 2012

When treating heart attacks and stroke, seconds count. So does having access to specialized services, like those offered at all five of our Providence medical centers.

The new Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center Critical Care Transport Team Ambulance is available 24/7 to transfer critically ill heart attack and stroke patients to the Providence Saint Joseph emergency department from other area hospitals that don’t offer these specialized services.

Debbie Buffham, R.N., MICN, CEN, program supervisor, explains a common scenario: “Sometimes a stroke patient will go to the closest ER. What they didn’t know was that the hospital may not be able to provide the best care for them. That ER is then trying to find a hospital that has the appropriate services, an available bed and is compatible with the patient’s insurance.”

Meanwhile, seconds tick away.

Providence hospitals have the necessary specialists and are designated stroke and heart attack receiving centers.“Partner hospitals now notify us immediately. We pick patients up in the Critical Care Ambulance, and a specially trained nurse on board the ambulance provides care en route to Providence Saint Joseph,” Buffham says.

The program is funded by a $500,000 grant from the UniHealth Foundation.