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Area hospital awarded special designation

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services named SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City a TCD Level II STEMI Center, which means it is among hospitals that have a protocol in place to handle acute heart attacks. (KRCG)

A mid-Missouri hospital received a special certification the week of Friday, May 18. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services named SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City a TCD Level II STEMI Center, which means it is among hospitals that have a protocol in place to handle acute heart attacks.

Heart attack survivor Mike Hedrick of Sedalia said he feels the new designation is just an official recognition of the standard of care St. Mary's Hospital had already been providing.

Hedrick said he owes his life to the fast care he received at St. Mary's after he suffered a heart attack while deer hunting. "That day, my chest wasn't really hurting, it was just inside of my arms, but something wasn't right, it wasn't going away," he said.

Hedrick said after doctors at an urgent care diagnosed him as being in the midst of a heart attack, paramedics took him to SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital. "I was awake for all of it because it was an emergency situation," he said. "I was watching everything on the monitor above me, and watching the wire go up through the vein as the doctors worked to get blood flow back into my heart."

STEMI coordinator and nurse James Baysinger oversees the care of heart attack patients such as Hedrick at SSM Health St. Mary's. He said considering Hedrick was having a heart attack, many might have expected the scene at the ER that day to have been chaotic. However, Baysinger said that wasn't the case. "The paramedics rolled Mike straight down the hallway, up the elevator, and right to the room where the procedure was about to take place in 19 minutes," Baysinger said.

He said St. Mary's new designation means patients can take comfort knowing there is a plan in place to make sure they get the care they need as fast as possible. "Those of us here at the hospital knew that Mike was coming in about 15 minutes before he got to the door," he said. "So by the time he got here, we already had the physicians ready, we had the "cath" lab ready, and everyone was sitting up there waiting for him."

Baysinger said having smooth and efficient protocols in place make up half the equation when it comes to improving outcomes for patients such as Hedrick. He said the other half is education. "When people know how to identify a heart attack and make sure they call 911 whenever a heart attack happens, that really saves the patient a lot of valuable time," he said. "That allows us here at St. Mary's to get some pre-notification, and EMS does a great job taking care of those patients until they get here. "

Hedrick said the quick work of the paramedics, the nurses, and the doctors at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital all played a role in his recovery. He said he believes their efforts the day he suffered a heart attack added up to give him a second chance at life. "Everybody that had a part in that did what they were supposed to do that day, and I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for that," he said.

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