Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA — If you’re having a heart attack — don’t pass go.

That’s the gist of new health care protocols that will drive you directly to RVH.

Heart attack patients in Muskoka now have access to the “gold standard” of care thanks to the Simcoe Muskoka Code STEMI Protocol.

As of now local residents with heart attack symptoms who go to Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) emergency departments in Bracebridge or Huntsville — or who call 911 — will be transported by Muskoka Paramedic Services straight to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie for their lifesaving treatment.

This gold standard of care takes place when a patient receives advanced cardiac care in less than 120 minutes from first medical contact.

“Having these advanced cardiac services and a highly-skilled team at RVH’s cardiac intervention Unit (CIU), means that now the majority of patients in Simcoe and Muskoka will be able to get lifesaving intervention within 120 minutes of a heart attack,” Dr. Tony Lee, medical director of RVH’s CIU, says in a release.

“Extending this new cardiac protocol to Muskoka would not be possible without the full collaboration of all our health partners in this region.”

This change is the result of an important new heart attack process called the Simcoe Muskoka Code STEMI Protocol, first introduced to Simcoe County last November.

The gradual phased-in approach to bringing advanced cardiac care to the people of Simcoe Muskoka is a partnership between RVH, County of Simcoe Paramedic Services, Rama Paramedic Service, Muskoka Paramedic Services and area hospitals.

“We are excited to see the gold standard of heart care reach the Muskoka region in collaboration with our emergency medical services partners at Muskoka Paramedic Services,” says Dr. John Simpson, director and chief of emergency medicine at MAHC. “This change in heart attack protocol means eligible patients in Muskoka can get the required medical care closer to home through the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program in Barrie.”

Since December, residents of Simcoe County, including Rama First Nation, who call 911 or arrive at an area hospital, with heart attack symptoms have been transported directly to RVH for care.

In this fourth phase of the protocol residents in Muskoka can now expect the same standard of care.

“Our paramedics will now be able to use their knowledge, assessment skills and tools to quickly begin treatment, and potentially improve outcomes by directly transporting patients to RVH for rapid definitive treatment,” says Jeff McWilliam, chief of Paramedic Services and Emergency Planning for the District of Muskoka.

“We value the partnerships with RVH, Muskoka Ambulance Communication Service, MAHC and Sunnybrook Centre for Pre-hospital Medicine as we would not be able to provide this level of service without the collaborative efforts of all.”

RVH says it is well-positioned to deliver advanced cardiac care.

Its regional heart program is a partnership with Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, opening in January 2018.

Since, the cardiac team has completed just more than 7,000 heart procedures including angiograms, angioplasty and pacemaker implants.

Muskoka paramedics will now transport all heart attack patients directly to RVH if they get a 911 call or if you go the emergency in Bracebridge and Huntsville.


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