Swansea, SC (WLTX) — During a health emergency one second can save a life. That is why Lexington Medical Center is making sure each one counts when it comes to caring for patient in rural areas of the Midlands.
Time counts when it comes to a heart attack and registered nurse and Community Medical Center Clinical Coordinator Darrell Tedder knows that first hand.
“I had a little burning chest pain. I thought it was reflux, took an antacid, didn’t work,” said Tedder.
That happened in 2008. He recognized the situation as serious and called his own ambulance.
“They took me to the hospital, where they opened me up, put a stint in, actually three, and I’m a survivor today,” said Tedder.
Now he and other medical professionals at the Lexington Medical Center’s Community Medical Center in Swansea are working to make sure those far away from the hospital’s main campus, can get to that care more quickly.
“The quicker you get somebody to a quick assessment, identification of the problem and get them to an area where they can be treated the less muscle that dies or is actually damaged,” he said.
The Swansea Community Medical Center held a drill to rehearse their response to a person having the most serious kind of heart attack called a STEMI, or ST segment elevation myocardial infarction. During a STEMI an artery is completely blocked off and part of the heart can begin to die. While the center can handle many kinds of medical emergencies, Dr. Donald Langston Powell says when they recognize a STEMI they begin procedures to get a patient to the main campus as soon as possible.
“When we call the helicopter or when we call the ambulance, there are personnel that are trained to take care of people. They’re all certified in advance cardiac life support and have all the tools necessary to take care of that patient,” said Powell.
While the community center is somewhat limited in what it can provide, Powell says receiving medications and care as they prepare to transport someone, is better than risking an attempt to reach the hospital on your own.