Southern Maryland Hospital Center Gifts LIFENETĀ® Technology to Local EMS

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Southern Maryland Hospital Center Gifts LIFENETĀ® Technology to Local EMS


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Southern Maryland Hospital Center (SMHC) has teamed up with emergency medical services (EMS) units across Prince George’s and Charles counties to save the lives of heart attack patients. Hospital founder and chairman, Francis P. Chiaramonte, MD, FACS, gifted the funding necessary to purchase LIFENET® for every EMS unit in Prince George’s and Charles counties and to pay ongoing costs for five years.

With the push of a button, LIFENET® allows EMS to transmit a heart attack patient’s electrocardiogram (EKG) directly to the nearest hospital’s emergency department from the ambulance. EKGs provide critical diagnostic information about the electrical activity of a patient’s heart. “The LIFENET® devices combine the best of medicine with the most advanced technology available to benefit our patients,” said Eric McDonald, MD, Assistant Medical Director of Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s emergency department. Local EMS began using the technology this month.

Receiving the EKG results of heart attack patients before they arrive at the hospital has life saving benefits. The hospital’s cardiology team can be ready to receive a heart attack patient and perform coronary angioplasty immediately. “It’s very valuable for the receiving cardiology team to have information about the acuity and severity of the problem,” said Roy H. Leiboff, MD, Medical Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s. “It helps us expedite the process and allows us to respond quickly, delivering a seamless continuity of care in a time-sensitive situation.”

Interventional cardiologist, Muhammad Ashraf, MD agrees. "The transmission of EKGs by EMS from the field will make the care of heart attack patients more efficient, allowing us to open blocked arteries with minimal delay,” he said. “It will go a long way toward helping heart attack patients in our community." During a heart attack, every minute that passes means further damage to the victim’s heart muscle. The information transmitted through LIFENET® can be lifesaving.

When local EMS asked area hospitals to fund this endeavor, Southern Maryland Hospital Center was the only hospital in the region that answered the call. Francis P. Chiaramonte MD, FACS, recognizing that ambulances capable of transmitting EKGs while transporting patients would save lives, generously donated the funding necessary to equip every ambulance in Prince George’s and Charles counties with the transmission technology and cover its operational costs for five years. “The ability to transmit diagnostic quality EKGs from the field represents a great enhancement in patient care and healthcare efficiency,” said Captain Roland Berg of Prince George’s County EMS.

The gift is being used to help patients across both counties, whether or not they are nearby Southern Maryland Hospital Center when their heart attacks occur. “This gift truly benefits the entire region,” said Roy H. Leiboff, MD. “The important thing is to help heart attack patients get the treatment they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

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