Everyday life often seems “everyday” until it’s your personal life on the line. That’s when the Emergency Medical Service teams can become one’s best friend.
In September, Craig County EMS members (Career Squad) Philip “Flip” Bishop, a paramedic and Elizabeth “Liz” Stoll, EMT, responded to a patient on John’s Creek, whom they quickly recognized as having a heart attack.
Little did the Responders know that they had responded in such an impressive way that it would get the attention of Lewis Gale Hospital.
Jim Cady, Craig County Emergency Management and Services Coordinator, explained, “They started a rapid transport, did 12-lead heart evaluations, called LGMC Med line and established a heart alert. That opened a heart catheterization lab, where doctors and nurses came in. The crew provided interventional treatment in route and they took the patient straight to the Cath lab, bypassing time in the ED. This provided a very fast intervention and clearing of the clogged arteries.”
On September 24, Kim Branscome from the Lewis Gale Medical Center recognized Bishop and Stoll for exemplary care in the field and presented them with an award for, “Clinical Excellence in Cardiovascular Care,” an award she believes is important.
“EMS providers have long been disregarded as a vital aspect in patient care. This program reiterates to the EMS providers that they are providing outstanding care for their community,” she said.
Jim Cady added, “I think this is a first for Craig County.”
“I have established an Awards & Recognition Program at LGMC that recognizes EMS providers that provide exemplary care in the field which have criteria that providers must meet in order to receive an award and recognition,” continued Branscome. “In this case, the EMS Providers recognized the extent and severity of the medical issue, provided appropriate and prompt medical care, provided quick notification to the Emergency Department of pending arrival and provided swift transport to the ED.”
She also explained the reasoning behind the deserving of this award is that the American Heart Association recommendations are to have a First Medical Contact (FMC) of a patient to Device time of 90 minutes. This means the time of the FMC, which in this case is EMS, to the time they get to the hospital, into the Operating Room and a medical device is implanted in a blocked heart artery, to be 90 minutes or less.
“In this case, due to the swift actions of this EMS crew, this patient had a Clinical Excellence in Cardiovascular Care FMC to Device time of 93 minutes,” Branscome said. “Based on their location in Craig County, this is amazing and definitely would not be possible without the actions of these two EMS providers.”
“The call we received was for a male experiencing chest pain, which is a pretty routine call,” both Bishop and Stoll shared.
“Generally, a lot of the calls we run, end up being lower acuity, but going into this call, I had a feeling that this call was going to be a little bit different. I generally like to take a 12 lead as soon as I can when the chief complaint is 12 lead,” Bishop added.
Within two or three minutes of being on scene, they shared that they were able to recognize that the patient was having a heart attack, which was crucial in getting the patient to definitive care in such a timely manner.
“From that point, my training kicked in and everything just seemed to flow naturally as far as treating the patient and performing everything we needed to do to prepare the patient for the procedure he would have done at the hospital,” Bishop said. “I could feel myself getting nervous at first knowing that we were so far from the hospital, but luckily everything went well, and I had great help and support from my partner Liz.”
Stoll moved from Richmond. “I like working in Craig because it is a very different environment from other EMS agencies,” she said. “I decided to work in EMS because I like to help people, and enjoy working in a team.”
Bishop grew up in Blacksburg, moved to Roanoke to attend Jefferson College of Health sciences, where he graduated with a BS in May. He has a legacy of medical professionals. His father is an Interventional Radiologist at Roanoke Memorial, two uncles are radiologists and his grandfather was an internal medicine doctor.
“I felt that the medical field was a natural place to end up, but I wanted to do something different which is why I chose EMS,” Bishop noted. “The more I learn about this field, the more I want to continue my education, which is why I plan on applying to medical school in the spring. I hope to be an emergency medicine physician, and work as a medical director of an EMS agency.”
Bishop explained, “For the past three years I’ve been working for Roanoke City Fire/EMS. Working there, we stay pretty busy, but our longest transports to the hospital are about five to eight miles, and if you need help on a scene, it’s never more than five minutes away. I applied here because I wanted to strengthen my competence as a provider in a system much farther from the hospital. Along with that, we run into a lot of unfriendly people in Roanoke that can be very rude, or even verbally abusive. It is a refreshing change to come here and serve a community that is so kind and grateful.”
Both Bishop and Stoll were sincerely appreciative of the award.
“To me, I wasn’t as much glad to receive the reward, but more so glad to find out how our patient did after the procedure. Getting follow up on our patients isn’t a common occurrence since we leave the hospital shortly after turning over care,” Bishop said. “I was ecstatic to find out that the patient did well after the procedure and was discharged a few days later.”
He explained the standard for urban areas is to have a time under 90 minutes and was “shocked” to find out how quick their time was.
“Our time of first medical contact to stent placement was 93 minutes,” Bishop said. “I think that our early recognition of the heart attack, as well as the early notice that we gave to the emergency department really helped minimize this time and kept it on par with the standards they set for urban departments. It was a good feeling to know that we were part of the team that helped achieve such a favorable outcome.”
LGH Branscome exclaimed, “The community should be proud to have this kind of dedication and professionalism representing Craig County.”