Direct Transport to Specialized Care HospitalsJune 26, 2018
If someone is suffering from a heart attack, immediate access to life-saving medical care is crucial. In some states, emergency medical services (EMS) are required to transport the patient to the closest hospital for treatment. However, if that facility does not offer the specialized treatment needed, the patient’s condition may worsen. Other states allow EMS to bypass the closest hospital and take the patient directly to a facility that offers specialized cardiovascular care. According to a study published by the American Heart Association, access to this specialized care helps improve patient survival rates.
Percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs), are the preferred treatment for heart attack patients with blocked arteries. Unfortunately, not all hospitals have the capability to perform this procedure. Researchers looked at the states that did not allow EMS to take patients to hospitals that offered PCIs and compared them to states that did allow the EMS to bypass closer hospitals to ensure that the patient received the care they needed. They found that 57.9 percent of heart attack patients living in states with bypass policies received the PCI within the recommended period. In states that did not have bypass policies, only 47.5 percent of patients received the PCI.
Bypass Policies Save Lives
According to Jacqueline Green, M.D., M.P.H., and cardiologist at Piedmont Heart Institute in Fayetteville, Georgia, the study offers compelling evidence that timely access to the recommended course of treatment can have a significant impact on survival rates. From the time of symptom onset to hospital arrival time, there was no difference between states with bypass policies and those without. However, in states with bypass policies, patients received faster treatment once they contacted EMS. Faster interventions had a positive impact on patient outcomes. Green believes that all states should consider allowing EMS personnel to take heart attack patients directly to a facility that performs PCIs.
Another issue with hospitals that do not specialize in specific cardiovascular procedures is the fact that patients often face delays in treatment because they must be evaluated before being sent to a specialized hospital. In states with bypass policies, patients are more likely to receive a diagnostic electrocardiogram, which can help doctors diagnose a condition earlier and provide the necessary treatment. Researchers also found that a considerable number of patients did not receive prompt medical care because they waited to contact EMS, or they took themselves to the hospital without necessarily knowing which facility provided the best cardiac care.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Heart Attack Patients
If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart attack and did not receive the most effective and prompt treatment, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will work tirelessly to determine who was responsible for your care and hold the appropriate parties responsible for any negligent behavior. We are committed to protecting your rights and securing the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.