Minutes Matter to the Heart

July 30, 2012

Mercy recognized Creve Coeur Fire Department EMS

for being the first to use the You Make the Call program.

Pictured: George Kichura, MD, Mercy cardiologist;

Paul Vessells, EMT-P Creve Coeur Fire Department;

Sam Saranith, EMT-P Creve Coeur Fire Department;

John Wilmas, MD, Mercy emergency department

Minutes matter, especially when it comes to a heart attack - when each minute means more damage to the heart muscle.

In an effort to save patients these critical minutes, Mercy Hospital St. Louis launched You Make the Call, a new process empowering our EMS partners in the field to initiate a life-saving cardiac procedure, known as the STEMI process. STEMI is an acronym for a life-threatening emergency where one of the heart’s major arteries is blocked.

Rapid identification of a STEMI before reaching the hospital notifies the emergency department staff of a patient’s condition prior to arrival. It also facilitates early activation of the cardiac catheterization lab staff along with the interventional cardiologist. This new process further reduces the door-to-balloon time (the time it takes from patient arrival to angioplasty), thus providing better, faster treatment for patients.

“Early activation is key to early intervention and when it comes to treating a cardiac patient, time is critical,” said Lee Varner, Mercy EMS coordinator. “Mercy is on the forefront of providing advanced cardiac care by utilizing paramedics to directly activate the process.” 

A group of 54 EMS providers attended the first EMS educational lunch at Mercy Hospital St. Louis in July. They learned about time-critical diagnosis, participated in an ECG exercise and reviewed a recent case study. 

“This is yet another way we are partnering with our EMS community,” Varner stated. “Our goal is to enhance the patient experience, improve patient outcomes and foster a stronger working relationship with our EMS partners.”

Mercy recognized Creve Coeur EMS for being the first to use the You Make the Call program. 

Media Contacts

Bethany Pope
St. Louis, St. Charles
Page: (314) 251-6000