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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on September 18, 2012

GMH earns national recognition for cardiac emergency care 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Georgetown, S.C. --  When someone suffers a heart attack, every minute is like a mini lifeline to survival. Simply put, time is critical, and the ability of health care workers to respond rapidly is a matter of life and death.For its success in quickly treating heart attack patients who arrive at its emergency department, Georgetown Memorial Hospital has earned a prestigious national award, one of only 73 hospitals in the nation selected for the honor.

 Presented by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Foundation’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) ACTION Registry, the award recognizes GMH for implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients. Specifically, GMH was recognized for successfully implementing strategies to quickly diagnose a patient having a heart attack, transport that patient from the emergency department to the Cardiac Cath Lab and re-establish blood flow in the blocked artery in less than 90 minutes.

“This award confirms that we are committed to providing an aggressive standard of care for heart attack patients and delivering cardiac services focused on improving outcomes,” Julie Pope, director of GMH’s  Cardiac Cath Lab, said. “As the incidence of heart disease increases and the population ages, the number of patients who suffer a heart attack is expected to grow. The time is right for us to be focused on improving the quality of cardiovascular care by implementing these guidelines.” 

Named the GWTG (Get with the Guidelines) Silver Achievement Award 2012, the award is particularly meaningful, given that South Carolina ranked No. 2 in the country for incidence of cardiovascular disease in 2007, the most recent year that figures are available, Pope said. That statistic compelled GMH to participate in the ACTION Registry’s D2B (Door-to-Balloon) Initiative to improve overall outcomes for heart-attack patients.

That meant adhering to treatment guidelines set forth by the ACTION Registry for four consecutive quarters and meeting certain standards and measures. Among these measures are balloon insertion within 90 minutes, prescription of pertinent medications at discharge and smoking cessation counseling if needed.

Dr. Mitch Devlin, a physician with Inlet Cardiopulmonary & Associates, said the award demonstrates the entire medical team’s commitment to excellence and patient care. “The process begins with the EMS responders, moves to the emergency department staff, continues with the Cath Lab staff and ultimately transitions to the inpatient team,” Devlin said.

Dr. Victor Diaz-Gonzalez, an interventional cardiologist with Inlet Cardiopulmonary & Associates, said the honor validates the high quality of care in the area. “We are proud of this award, because it shows that we are providing cardiac care in this community that is comparable to what is provided at other larger centers,” Diaz-Gonzalez said.

The ACTION Registry is a partnership between the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American heart Association with support from the American College of Emergency Physicians, Society of Chest Pain Centers al Medicine.

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Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in Georgetown and Horry counties. With three hospitals and nearly 50 outpatient locations that stretch from Andrews to North Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health is improving lives across the Tidelands region.