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Riverside honors IW first responders

Four Isle of Wight emergency first responders were recently honored for their lifesaving work.

Lt. Chris Smith, fire-medic Delaney Townsend, part-time medic Levario Franklin of Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue and Capt. Kaven Melton of the Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department received the Heart Saver Award from Riverside Health System.

Around 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 11, they were the key personnel who responded to a call for help regarding a 56-year-old man who was experiencing chest pain. Emergency workers arrived on scene about 10 minutes later.

“They knew that this patient was probably having a heart attack, so we were able to get our team organized and together,” said Jessica Morrissette, a registered nurse and manager in Riverside’s emergency department in Newport News. She presented the awards during a brief ceremony at the Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department on Jan. 14.

Upon arrival at Riverside, the patient, whom officials did not name to protect his privacy, was immediately taken to the cardiac catheterization lab for a procedure to open a blocked right coronary artery. As a result of the efficient, professional response by everyone involved, “the patient was able to be discharged home just two days later,” she said.

Morrissette said the “door to balloon time” for the patient was 40 minutes, which beat the hospital’s goal of 60 minutes. The “EMS to balloon time” was 71 minutes, which also beat the hospital goal of 90 minutes.

The time between an initial emergency call and the patient’s arrival at the hospital is critical, especially for certain conditions like cardiac-related issues. The efficient response and excellent outcome for the patient are evidence that when it comes to public safety, “it’s an effort from everybody,” said Pat Humphries, Isle of Wight’s chief of emergency services. “This is really only one of the many successes we have everyday.”

Riverside presents the Heart Saver Award monthly. It recognizes that taking care of patients is a team effort and the response and organization of emergency medical personnel are a critical part of saving lives.

“We can’t do it without EMS, so we just want to recognize them for all that they do,” Morrissette said.