Unity Medical Center staff

Pictured is a group of medical professionals at Unity Medical Center that was integral in identifying a recent heart attack and having the patient transported under the 120-minute goal window of the hospital. Pictured are, from left, Clara Margaret Capps, RN; Dr. Louis Portilla, Jana Shelton, RN; Cappi Jones, RN; and Paula Clem, RN. 

The staff at Unity Medical Center in Manchester is receiving praise from Nashville area hospitals for its speedy and efficient diagnosis of patients entering the Manchester hospital with a STEMI, more commonly known as a heart attack.

Partnering with TriStar Centennial Hospital in Nashville, Unity Medical Center receives feedback on the time it takes for the Unity emergency department to perform an Electrocardiogram (ECG) on the patient, how long before a code STEMI is called, time for transport and the total time before a balloon is used to open the patient’s blockage. The internal goal for Unity to perform these essential measures and have the blockage open is under 120 minutes. However, that time is often bested thanks to the efficiency of the Unity Medical Center emergency department.

“Our goal is 120 minutes or less – because time is tissue in these instances,” explained Ken Ware, Director of Nursing for Unity Medical Center.

“In many cases we are able to do better than 120 minutes. Here we have a case that was 107 minutes and we have another one that was 90 minutes,” added Ware while thumbing through files that showed excellent response time. “We receive feedback from TriStar on these cases and we are able to use that feedback to improve our emergency department.”

 Vanderbilt University Medical Center applauded Unity’s efforts regarding one STEMI patient, praising the quick response and transportation time to Vanderbilt’s cardiac unit.

“Your staff did an excellent job with this patient,” read an email from Vanderbilt’s  Acute Care team. “This is the ideal case of what a transferred STEMI patient should look like.”

In this case, it took the Unity staff only four minutes to perform an ECG from the moment the patient entered the hospital and only four minutes to contact Air Evac Lifeteam. The patient left the Unity emergency department and received a stent within 103 minutes from the time he walked in the door at Unity Medical Center.

“Providing quality care with urgency is our focus at Unity Medical Center,” said Martha McCormick, Unity CEO. “Our staff has a good grasp on our procedures and executes them well. It is because of this that we are looked at as setting a standard for small, rural hospitals. We obviously could not do this without our dedicated and talented staff and they deserve all the credit for that.”

In another case, it only took 91 minutes from the time the patient entered Unity Medical Center before a balloon was used to open the blockage at TriStar Centennial Hospital. It took only one minute for the Unity emergency team to perform an ECG.

“Excellent case,” reads the notes from Centennial. “Early recognition, early activation, rapid transport and early intervention all played a vital role in this successful outcome.”

Ware said much praise also goes to Air Evac Lifeteam, which is a key method of patient transportation for those who present with a STEMI.

“That team at Air Evac is very important in this process. Without them and quick transportation, this would not be possible,” said Ware.

Unity Medical Center is located at 481 Interstate Drive and can be reached by telephone at 931-728-6354. Visit them online at www.unitymedicalmanchester.com.