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Manteca Ambulance adopts transmitters

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Manteca Ambulance adopts transmitters

Manteca Ambulance manager Jonathan Mendoza picks up one of the 12-lead heart EKG transmitters from his desk, valued at $1,295 and donated by the St. Dominic’s Hospital Advisory Board.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED July 11, 2013 12:12 a.m.

The St. Dominic’s Hospital South County Advisory Board has donated approximately $14,000 worth of portable cardiac EKG transmitters to Manteca District Ambulance for use in each of its eight ambulances to communicate with hospital emergency centers.

The 12-lead EKG transmitters are valued at $1,295 apiece, ambulance manager Jonathan Mendoza said on Wednesday, giving credit to Manteca’s Dorothy Cardoza and St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Sister Abigail for the gifts as well as the advisory board members.

Mendoza said “time is muscle” saved in the transportation of heart patients to cardiac catheterization labs where the patients will receive immediate treatment to keep the heart muscle from dying. 

“When paramedics arrive our (new) electronic EKG machines are state-of-the-art and we can actually do a complete 12-lead EKG view of your heart and transmit it to cardiac hospitals in Stockton – St. Joseph’s and Dameron,” Manteca District Ambulance Chief Operations Officer Bill Caldera further said.

Caldera said once paramedics recognize this type of heart attack, the best treatment is to get to the cardiac cath lab as quickly as possible, a lab that has been alerted by the ambulance paramedics with the radio transmission of the patient’s EKG.  Ambulances usually travel up I-5 to reach the heart labs with surgeons at the ready to take patients into the operating rooms.

“The patient will receive emergency placement of STENTS.  These open up the coronary artery and allow blood to flow again to the muscle that was starting to die.  We at Manteca District Ambulance recommend anyone with any signs of a heart attack immediately contact 911,” he said.

Caldera noted an important change in one common life-saving method to “compression CPR” as something that is trending in America due to recent studies that find citizens are needed to help each other in the event of cardiac arrest.  The American Heart Association is coming out with new guidelines in 2015 that San Joaquin County has already adopted – a step ahead of much of the rest of the state. 

“The old style CPR with ventilations is hindering people to be willing to try to help,” he said.

The old style of CPR has a success rate of less than 5 percent, while cardiac arrest in the pre-hospital setting with no CPR having a success rate of less than 2 percent, the ambulance chief explained.  Hands-only CPR by citizens, with automatic defibulators available from the fire department, raises the success rate to 13 percent, he added.

“San Joaquin County has implemented through the EMS Emergency Medical Service Agency is a new policy for all the ambulances and fire departments in the county.  It’s an acronym (MICR), meaning Minimally Interrupted Cardiac Resuscitation.  The gist of that is that we are being trained as first responders with the fire departments or the ambulance that if we arrive first we are to do two minutes of hands-only CPR (about 80 per minute ) before we go to our other measures and life-saving drugs,” he said.

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