Three Agencies In Lee County Receive Grant-Funded
Electrocardiogram Machines From Heart Institute
Enhanced heart care for residents of Lee County and nearby
communities has arrived with placement of additional lifesaving equipment in
Three Lee County emergency medical services agencies
received 12-lead electrocardiogram machines from the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute at a ceremony Wednesday, Jan.
30, at Lee Regional Medical Center. This group is the latest in
Southwest Virginia to receive these machines, which help determine whether a
patient is suffering a heart attack.
Entities that now have these EKGs are Jonesville Rescue
Squad, Thomas Walker Volunteer Rescue Squad and Keokee Rescue Squad.
“We’re excited these agencies will have this equipment that
empowers their caregivers to elevate the assistance they provide patients,”
said Dr. Herb Ladley, a board-certified cardiologist with the
heart institute and medical director of its Level One Heart Attack Network. “These additional EKG
machines benefit patients greatly with early diagnoses that lead to quicker and
more efficient delivery of expert heart care.”
Earlier this month, the heart institute placed EKGs with
four agencies in Wise County – Appalachian Rescue Squad, Big Stone Gap Rescue
Squad, Friendship Ambulance Service and Lifecare Ambulance Service. The heart
institute also held a ceremony last week to place EKGs with three agencies in
Dickenson County -- Dickenson County Ambulance Service, Clintwood Volunteer
Rescue Squad and Haysi Rescue Squad.
Agencies in Russell County will also receive EKGs during an
event on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Funding for these EKGs comes from a $200,000 grant from the
Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission to Wellmont Foundation. The foundation matched the grant with
Through this initiative, emergency medical services agencies
in Dickenson, Lee, Russell and Wise counties received 19 EKG machines and
upgrades to two others.
“This essential equipment will bolster the quality of
medical care in Southwest Virginia tremendously and assure patients that
lifesaving equipment is available when they need it,” said Greg Neal, president
of Wellmont Health System’s
community hospital division, which includes Lee Regional. “We’re grateful the
Tobacco Commission demonstrated such a strong commitment to the welfare of this
When emergency medical services providers perform an EKG on
a patient’s heart, they can transmit the test to a hospital, where an emergency
room physician reads it. If the physician concludes the patient is having a
heart attack, the medical team in a cardiac catheterization lab can mobilize faster.
At Wellmont, precise coordination between the hospital and
caregivers in the field, combined with the use of these EKGs, represents the
Level One Heart Attack Network in action. Wellmont hospitals excel at this
process, which has enabled blockages in a patient’s heart to be cleared in less
than 15 minutes. The national gold standard is 90 minutes.
Another key to successful implementation of the network is
the patient or a loved one calling 911 at the onset of heart attack symptoms.
“Minutes and seconds count when someone is having a heart
attack, and our hospitals are fortunate to have outstanding medical providers
assisting patients from the moment they meet,” said Dr.
Guy Clark, medical director of Lee Regional’s emergency department. “The
process continues with the innovative work of remarkable caregivers at the
“Our region benefits from the commitment of everyone in the
care process to utilize their expertise and resources such as these EKGs to
save lives and enable patients to return to their normal routine as soon as
The heart institute already has a special connection to Lee
Regional and the community it serves through the use of teleconsulting. In
addition to seeing patients in person at the hospital, Dr. Ladley and other
cardiologists from the heart institute can manage care from Holston Valley Medical Center by consulting with patients
through a video connection. This method, when it is medically appropriate,
saves patients from having to travel for an appointment with a cardiologist.
“We’re pleased the level of heart care continues to grow in
Lee County by building on long-established strengths with new opportunities to
build a sustainable model of care,” Neal said. “It’s just another reminder to
patients in our region that high-quality health care delivered with compassion
is available close to home.”