Man’s Life Saved by Quick Work
New Britain [November 02 2006] -
William Sherman suspected that he was having a heart attack. “Like a hot poker stabbing me in the chest,” is the way he describes the pain that sent him to The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s Bradley Memorial campus. He entered the Emergency Department there at 3:20 p.m. The staff quickly finished their tests and a diagnosis of an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) was made.
Emergency Department physician Dr. Jan Zislis contacted the interventional cardiologist on call at the New Britain General campus who confirmed the diagnosis and contacted the coronary angioplasty team. Mr. Sherman, 80, of Southington, was quickly transported to the New Britain campus cardiac catheterization laboratory where the cardiac team of physicians, nurses, and technicians waited. The patient’s medical records were immediately available, arriving electronically before the patient.
By about 4 p.m., Drs. Robert Borkowski and Manny Katesetos were performing primary coronary angioplasty — the best treatment for the most dangerous type of heart attack, caused by a blocked coronary artery, depriving the heart of blood and oxygen, causing heart muscle to die. During the angioplasty procedure, the blocked artery is re-opened by inserting a small tube known as a catheter into the obstruction. A balloon is then inflated to open the artery. In most cases, a small metal device known as a stent is inserted to prevent the artery from clogging again.
By 5:30, the procedure was finished and Mr. Sherman’s condition had vastly improved. The following day, he was sitting up in bed, talking about the experience and his grandchildren.
This is a classic story of a life saved.
But in this case, it is also a story about how the merger of these two hospitals saved critical hours for a patient. “Time is heart muscle when you have an occluded artery. The faster we can clear that artery, the less damage there is to the heart,” says Dr. Milton J. Sands, chief of cardiology at the Hospital of Central Connecticut.
Before the merger of the two hospital campuses, such a move would have taken much longer. Patients had to be officially transferred from one hospital to another and readmitted, which would include obtaining copies of medical records. Now, a second admission is unnecessary, and their medical records are already here, since we are one hospital. One of the key benefits of operating under a single license is that doctors and staff can communicate freely, share records, and move patients between campuses as needed. With the Hospital’s unified record-keeping system, called Cerner, there is a single record for each patient, simplifying clinical evaluation and saving time.
Dr. Sands spearheaded the effort to have the primary angioplasty procedure approved at New Britain General and there is no doubt that it saves lives. Within days of opening its new cardiac intervention program in May 2005, the Hospital performed its first primary angioplasty. Now, in early November, nearly 100 primary angioplasties have been performed.
The digital cardiovascular suite is state of the art, comprising the cardiac catheterization and angiography labs opened in September, 2005, following the complete renovation of the interventional radiology special procedure suite in September 2003. The suite houses two new state-of-the-art digital imaging machines (each costing more than $1 million) that fill both diagnostic and treatment needs in ways physicians scarcely imagined even 15 years ago.
The labs were made possible in large part by a $1 million gift from New Britain General’s Auxiliary.
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