Christiansburg Rescue Squad receives prestigious award, 4th year in a row

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)— The Christiansburg Rescue Squad is being recognized by the American Heart Association.

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It received a Gold Plus Award for the fourth year in a row, the highest achievement award EMS agencies can get for providing quality care before the hospital.

“This award is really a testament to their ability and skillsets,” said LewisGale Intervention Cardiologist Dr. John Patterson. “Their ability to get the EKG at the location allows us the time we need to set up, so if they can notify us the moment they identify that heart attack and then begin treatment, when the patient comes to the hospital, we’re prepared.”

Patterson develops heart attack programs, a series of steps from early identification of symptoms to getting folks to the right hospital to decrease the amount of time it takes.

“We’re very fortunate to have a service like Christiansburg Rescue,” Patterson said. “All of those steps are designed to make the least amount of time from the time the person has their onset of symptoms to the time I get that artery open.”

The tools, skills and practices they have in place help EMS workers to promptly notify area hospitals to make sure patients are getting the appropriate care when they arrive.

“It’s not so much about the award as it is the outcomes. Part of what we do and what the hospital does is only part of it,” said Deputy Chief Dustin Williams. “Any time people have symptoms, call early, seek medical attention early and that’s what creates the best outcomes.”

Due to concerns over COVID-19, hospitals are seeing a dramatic decrease in patients having early symptoms checked out. This makes it even more difficult for medical workers.

“By the time they do get sick enough to really have to come in, the damage is done,” Patterson said. “I can open the artery, but the muscle’s dead and I can’t get that back.”

Patterson said he is grateful for the steps EMS workers here and across the New River Valley are taking each day to make emergency response as smooth as possible.

“It’s a very challenging area for them to try to extend this idea of heart attack survival to all of these patients,” said Dr. Susan Osborne, the squad’s Operational Medical Director. “I’m very excited about them grabbing ahold of this American Heart Association initiative to get the patients to definitive treatment faster.”

You can read more about the recognition here.

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