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Healthcare Preparedness Drills Improve Life-Saving Patient Care

Tennessee State Department of Health Commissioner, Community Leaders Participate

DICKSON, Tenn. (October 12, 2016) – TriStar Natchez ER teamed up with local emergency response organizations on Monday, October 10, to stage two, realistic scenarios that tested preparedness for the life-saving treatment of patients having a stroke and heart attack. The Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner and Dickson leaders were onsite for the training.

"All of us in the emergency response business know that our confidence in being ready to respond has everything to do with both our actual actions and our training events that give us the opportunity to prove to ourselves that we have the relationships, know-how and materials whenever that crucial call comes in," said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. "We are grateful for the collaborative work by Dickson area EMS personnel and the TriStar Natchez ER to conduct this and other training activities so they can be ready to fulfill their life-saving missions." Dreyzehner also serves as Tri-Chair of the National Homeland Security Consortium.

The participating organizations, including the TriStar Natchez ER physicians and nursing staff, Dickson County EMS and AirEvac, focused on opportunities to improve all aspects of patient care, including a seamless transportation process and treatment and intervention protocols.

"We are committed to meeting and exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria as we continue to serve the healthcare needs of patients here in Dickson and surrounding communities. We conduct these types of drills on a regular basis because they are an important component of our preparedness to save lives," said Dustin Greene, CEO of TriStar Horizon Medical Center. ""We remain committed to working closely with our community partners to ensure we are providing the best emergency care services and improving patient outcomes."

Community leaders participated in the drill as mock patients.

Stroke Care

The first drill began with a 911 call dispatching Dickson County EMS to a local restaurant. State Senator Kerry Roberts, filled the role of the 'stroke patient' and was transported by EMS to the local TriStar Natchez ER for evaluation and treatment. After staff followed appropriate protocols to stabilize the patient, a telemedicine consult was requested. This state-of-the-art technology virtually gave the patient immediate access to a TriStar neurologist specializing in stroke care. The telemedicine robot was taken to the patient’s bedside and provided two-way audio and video communication with the neurologist, allowing the physician the capability to remotely conduct a full exam. As a result of this technology, the patient received time-critical care that reduced long-term stroke impacts.

"I’m confident in ensuring this community that our first responders and staff at the TriStar Natchez ER are trained and prepared to follow life-saving critical care protocols in providing effective emergency stroke care," said Senator Kerry Roberts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of adult disability. About 800,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke each year. Getting fast treatment is important to preventing death and disability.

Heart Attack Care

The second scenario began with a patient portrayed by State Representative David Shepard, walking into TriStar Natchez ER with chest pain. A ‘Code STEMI’ (a process developed to treat all heart attack patients within minutes) was activated and the patient was immediately triaged by an ER nurse who performed an EKG test (electrocardiogram is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart). EKG results verified that the patient was having a heart attack, and the physician was able to stabilize and appropriately treat the patient for his signs and symptoms. As the STEMI process continued, AirEvac, an EMS air ambulance, was dispatched to transport the patient to a higher level of care if needed.

Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Symptoms of a heart attack include pressure, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest and other areas of the upper body such as arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, according to the American Heart Association. More than 600,000 people are dying in the U.S. annually of heart related disease.

TriStar Horizon and TriStar Natchez ER support 50,000 emergency room visits annually and are prepared to provide life-saving care for stroke and heart attacks. TriStar Horizon is a Certified Primary Stroke Center and Chest Pain Accreditation Center.

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