Harrison Hospital gets comm upgrade

CADIZ Harrison Community Hospital’s emergency response teams have new tools at their disposal to keep a patient’s heart beating on an emergency call.

Jim Horton, EMP-P director of emergency services said three of the hospital’s five ambulances and a medic response vehicle are now equipped with transmitters. Using Bluetooth technology and a Philips MRx monitor, paramedics can send 12-lead ECG’s to the receiving hospital using the ambulance’s cellular phone.

The readout of a patient’s heartbeat is immediately transmitted to the hospital, allowing doctors to determine if a heart attack is in progress. Physicians can direct the ambulance to bypass local emergency departments and immediately transport the patient to a cardiac catherization center where the patient will receive definitive treatment to remove the occlusion or obstruction.

“Every hospital can’t do open heart surgery,” Horton said. “The longer the timeframe, the worse your outcome is going to be.”

The equipment was installed in January. They have used it 22 times since March.

Horton added that as the only hospital based emergency medical services in our local area, paramedics for Harrison County, they take their duties seriously.

“The national goal from the time you call the EMS to arrival in a cardiac catherization center is 90 minutes,” Horton said, adding that the hospital’s goal is less than 60 minutes. He added that the average transportation time to Trinity Hospital has been cut to about 35 minutes. He added that in some prior cases transportation has been two hours.

In addition, they have also installed boosters in the ambulances to carry signals in areas with poor cellular phone coverage. Horton said teams in the field can easily receive a fast response at almost any point in the county.

Dr. David Schaffer, FACS medical director at the hospital, said the equipment has made an impact on efficiency.

“Even when I’m not in the hospital, I can get real time EKG on my cell phone,” he said. “This small little rural hospital is connected to the whole world.”

The purchase was made possible via a grant of $92,700 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. It is administered through the Ohio Hospital Association.

In the near future, Horton said the hospital is planning to apply for additional grants to so equip all the ambulances.

He added that the hospital also recently purchased a paramedic response vehicle with a flex grant of $107,000 through the Ohio Department of Health. The vehicle is equipped with four wheel drive and is able to handle rough terrain and winter roads when accompanying emergency squads to trouble sites.

DeFrank can be reached online at rdefrank@