Solano's First 'Heart Attack Hospital'
NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield has been selected the preferred hospital in Solano County for those suffering heart attacks.
The county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency announced the designation of the downtown Fairfield hospital following its review of the cardiac care program. Pending official paper, ambulance and first responders soon will be directed to transport heart attack patients to NorthBay Medical Center for cardiac care.
“Once again, NorthBay Healthcare has taken the lead in bringing another advanced, life-saving medical service to our citizens,” said Deborah Sugiyama, president of NorthBay Healthcare Group. “No longer will patients suffering a major heart attack have to go to hospitals outside the county.
NorthBay Medical Center on Sept. 30 became the first trauma center in the county. Since its trauma designation by the county, the Emergency Department has treated on average two trauma cases per day. Seriously injured patients previously were taken by helicopter or ambulance to hospitals in Walnut Creek or Sacramento.
“As is the case with trauma patients, time is critical in treating those exhibiting the symptoms of a major heart attack,” noted Kathy Richerson, vice president and chief nursing officer for NorthBay. “Being closer to home, we can provide treatment sooner and thereby save lives.”
The Fairfield hospital’s official designation will be as a STEMI Receiving Center. STEMI, or ST segment elevation myocardial infarction, is a severe cardiac event.
“Through careful assessment of the application, coupled with the results of the on-site review, the survey team feels NorthBay Medical Center is committed to providing excellent STEMI care to the residents of Solano County,” wrote Ted Selby, Emergency Medical Services Administrator for the county. “The care of patients suffering from STEMI involves strong teamwork and dedicated staff; NorthBay Medical Center has demonstrated both.”
Selby added, “The application process and preparation required for an on-site review is rigorous and we would like to congratulate NorthBay for achieving this level of success.”
The county’s team made five recommendations involving changes to policies, procedures and one job description. All will be implemented well before Nov. 30 when the designation is effective, according to Sugiyama.
During a STEMI, one or more of the arteries that nourish the heart muscle is completely blocked by a blood clot, and as a result, the heart muscle being supplied by the affected artery begins to die. As a heart attack center, NorthBay’s emergency department will be able to quickly deploy specially trained teams of nurses and cardiologists to clear the blocked artery before the damage to the heart muscle is irreversible. A team of cardiac surgeons is on call 24/7 to conduct emergency open-heart surgery if it is needed.
The new designation is a natural extension of the NorthBay Heart & Vascular Center, which opened in 2009. The Fairfield hospital is also an accredited Chest Pain Center. Hundreds of hours of training and new staff were added to achieve the new designation as a receiving center for heart attack patients.
The Fairfield hospital is the only civilian facility in Solano County that is a designated STEMI Receiving Center.