Oakwood donates EKG units to Dearborn Fire Department


The Oakwood Healthcare System donated five portable 12-lead EKG units to the Dearborn Fire Department on Wednesday, furthering a commitment to reduce heart attack treatment times throughout the Detroit metro area.

The units, which represent an investment of $165,000 by the healthcare system, are capable of transmitting EKG information directly to the smart phones of attending physicians, dramatically reducing the treatment times for heart attack victims. It’s part of a commitment from Oakwood to provide the equipment and training to paramedics throughout the 500-square mile area serviced by Oakwood.

“This is a huge commitment, not only to the City of Dearborn, but to the entire region,” said Jeffrey Beutner, Battalion Chief, Emergency Medical Services for the City of Dearborn. “This is a wonderful thing the hospital has done.”

Healthcare systems rate the time between the arrival of heart attack patients at an emergency room and when they can receive an emergency catheterization—it’s referred to as door-to-balloon time. The national average is about 90 minutes. Since the new technology has been implemented at the Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center (OHMC) in Dearborn, the average is about 53—and far less if patients are transported by the Dearborn Fire Department, rather than going to the hospital on their own.

“We’ve consistently seen 30 minutes or less when patients are transported by our agency,” said Beutner.

That’s because doctors can make the diagnosis as soon as the information is transmitted to their phones, said Joe Murray Ph.D., manager of the Critical Care transport Team at Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center.

“By the time the fire department gets to the hospital, our staff is ready to go,” said Murray.

Beutner said the units would find regular use in Dearborn. The four ambulance units in the city respond to about 10,000 calls every year. They go on at least three cardiac runs every day, he said.

The Dearborn fire department has used the technology since 2009, according to Beutner. The new units will replace old ones that have seen plenty of use for the department.

“It’s been a great partnership,” said Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly.

“It’s huge,” said Fire Chief Richard Miller of the donation, which comes at a time when many municipalities are operating under tight budget conditions. “This is a big help for the department and the community as a whole.”

Michael Geheb, MD, division president of Oakwood Healthcare Inc, said the project was a team effort from the healthcare system, the Oakwood Foundation and the OHMC Guild, volunteers who helped generate donations for the Lifepak units.

“It’s been a great collaborative effort,” said Geheb.

Murray said Oakwood hopes to provide the equipment and training to departments throughout the healthcare system’s service area this year. Dearborn has been transmitting ECGs for about two years now, but their current cardiac monitors are older and rapidly approaching their expiration. The new Life-Pak units in Dearborn will replace five-year-old machines.

“Oakwood is committed to this process because of the successes we’ve had,” said Murray. “We’re looking forward to getting everyone on board.”
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