When Stanley Garretson woke up at around 4 a.m. on a February morning in 2009; he suspected something was very wrong. Within 15 minutes as he was struggling with the pain in his chest, he realized – he was having a heart attack.
What he didn’t know was that a partnership between Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center and the Surprise Fire Department would help save his life.
The hospital and fire department work with technology that allows a high-quality electrocardiogram to be taken in the field and sent electronically to the hospital.
While Garretson's EKG was being taken in the field, other fire department emergency medical technicians checked his vital signs and oxygenation while applying oxygen and another prepared the medication necessary to treat a heart attack. Garretson's EKG was sent to cell phones and computers of medical personnel who could respond.
When Garretson arrived to the hospital he coded at the door, but the ED team were ready and waiting for him. Time is heart muscle when a person is experiencing a heart attack. Banner Del E. Webb personnel were standing by in the catheterization lab prepared to insert a stent. Garretson arrived at the ED door at 5:32 a.m. and had a lifesaving stent procedure completed by 6:45. The clear, diagnostic quality EKG was transmitted to the hospital at 5:17 a.m. and automatically retransmitted at 5:26 a.m.
All in all about 15 minutes were shaved off the usual time for this process.
“They saved my life,” Garretson said. “Everyone has been so nice and supportive through this entire experience.”