The Collinsville Fire Department treated 11 residents who had heart attacks last year with “excellent outcomes,” according to the city. Before about 1996, however, they would have experienced lengthy delays in care because the city did not have the trained paramedics it has today.
“Twenty years ago, I can almost guarantee you most of those residents would have had a much worse outcome,” Capt. Tim Rainey said during the City Council meeting last week, when the department was presented an award from the American Heart Association for its paramedics’ care of heart attack patients.
“We love our residents, and we want them to have the best care they can possibly have,” Rainey said.
This is the second consecutive year Collinsville has earned the recognition.
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The department qualified for a silver-level 2016 Mission: Lifeline EMS award from the association, which is a step up from its bronze-level recognition in 2015. Award status is based on self-reported data.
Rainey attributed the award to the City Council that in the past led the department’s change from ambulance service to paramedic service.
“That forward-thinking council is what changed the way we deliver care to our residents and is what gave us this award today,” he said.
Mayor John Miller, who worked for 31 years at the fire department before retiring, was a part of that inaugural class of paramedics, according to Rainey.
Today, Collinsville participates in the Mission: Lifeline program in which there is a coordinated effort between healthcare providers and EMS to treat heart attack patients. The program’s director Art Miller said during Monday’s meeting that paramedics need to make a quick diagnosis when blood flow to the heart through a coronary artery is blocked.
Art Miller said Collinsville paramedics are successfully identifying it in the field and notifying hospitals ahead of time.
“It’s a critical patient. Many of them go into cardiac arrest,” Art Miller said. “... Collinsville, not only are they seeing a high volume of patients over the last couple of years, but their time has been incredible. And, as I say, it is a time-sensitive diagnosis.”