Medic Earns National Recognition
A couple of news reports last week highlighted the statewide effort in North Carolina to accelerate the emergency treatment of heart-attack patients. The biggest improvements in time-to-treatment for these heart attack patients – as chronicled in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) – were in Mecklenburg County.
– the Mecklenburg EMS Agency – played a major role in those outcomes, and recently implemented new protocols aimed at improving the chances of survival for these patients even more.
The crucial treatment in such cases is angioplasty, which involves threading a catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip through the patient’s arteries to the site of a blockage. The balloon is then inflated, clearing the blockage and restoring normal flow of blood through the artery. With most serious heart conditions, time is critical to the success or failure of treatment. Research shows a significant decline in survival rates of heart-attack victims if blockages are not cleared within 90 minutes of the onset of the attack.
JAMA noted excellent “door-to-balloon” times in Mecklenburg – meaning the elapsed time from when the patient entered the hospital to when cardiologists successfully cleared the blockage. But Mecklenburg’s success extended beyond the hospital doors.
As The Charlotte Observer reported: “(Mecklenburg) times were … better than the statewide average for getting patients from their homes and workplaces, or wherever they were when the heart attack occurred, into treatment at the hospital. … Ninety percent of Charlotte-area patients make it to angioplasty in less than 90 minutes.”
In May, MEDIC instituted new guidelines to quickly diagnose, stabilize, and transport heart-attack patients exclusively to one of three area healthcare centers with cardiac catheterization labs capable of providing 24-hour-a-day emergency treatment to clear the blockage of vessels supplying blood to the heart. Previously, such patients sometimes were transported to one hospital, then had to be moved to another with interventional capabilities, costing precious time and lessening the chance of successful treatment.
The new protocols, approved by MEDIC’s Medical Control Board, follow guidelines established by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. In each case, the MEDIC crew treating the patient triggers the protocol within minutes of reaching the patient on scene. This includes administering oxygen, aspirin and nitroglycerin within five minutes of patient contact; obtaining results from an electrocardiogram within 10 minutes; and setting the receiving hospital’s procedures in motion. It is Medic’s paramedic in the field who – with results from a 12-lead heart monitor – dictates the preparation of the hospital, which in turn has the cardiac cath lab prepared and interventional cardiologist ready for the patient upon arrival.
This quote from study co-author Dr. Yele Aluko says it all: "If you are going to have a heart attack, Charlotte is the place to do it." For more information on MEDIC’s new protocols or the JAMA study, please contact Joe Penner, MEDIC Executive Director, at (704) 943-6050 or email at
LYNX Ribbon Cutting and Inaugural Ride Ceremony
As a reminder, CATS will conduct a Ribbon Cutting and Inaugural Ride ceremony for the
LYNX Blue Line
on November 19 at 10 a.m. Prior to the ribbon cutting, Charlotte Mayor McCrory, Chair of the Metropolitan Transit Commission, will host a breakfast starting at 9 a.m. in the lobby of the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. Board members have already received invitations to this event.
Shuttle service will be provided from the CMGC circle to the Arena starting at 8:30 a.m. For more information on the ceremony, please contact CATS Marketing and Communications Manager Olaf Kinard at (704) 336-2275 or email at
Federal Appropriations Update
The federal FY08 budget process is still underway, and the U.S. government is now operating under a second continuing resolution effective through December 14.
The County's federal legislative agenda includes a $1 million request for housing for domestic violence victims. Congress has passed a Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill that includes $200,000 for the County to combat domestic violence. Representatives Hayes and Myrick and Senator Burr requested the earmark.
The Labor/HHS/Education bill also includes $200,000 for CPCC for curriculum development at the Center for Integrated Emergency Response Training and $400,000 for Carolinas HealthCare System for facilities and equipment.
The appropriations bill was vetoed on November 12 by President Bush. It now returns to Congress to override the veto or to make changes that will result in approval by the President. Congress will recess on November 16. Therefore, no resolution on the budget is expected until after Thanksgiving.
Mark Your Calendar
Monday, November 19:
- Lynx Ribbon Cutting and Inaugural Ride Ceremony, 10 a.m., Charlotte Bobcats Arena
Tuesday, November 20:
- Dinner Meeting, 5 p.m., CH-14
- Regular Meeting, 6 p.m., Meeting Chamber
Thursday, November 23 – Friday, November 24:
- All County offices closed for Thanksgiving Holiday
--Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager