St. Francis opens STEMI center for heart attack patients

DOWNEY − St. Francis Medical Center (SFMC) announced the opening of its new STEMI Receiving Center at a press conference on March 4. This new service, which began March 1, enables South Los Angeles residents who are experiencing a heart attack to receive more immediate critical, life-saving care within their own community.  Until now, a huge gap in STEMI Receiving Centers in this part of LA County had resulted in heart patients being transported out of the area – which delayed crucial treatment when “every second counts” during a heart attack.

A STEMI, or “ST elevation myocardial infarction,” is one of the most common and deadly forms of heart attack.  Patients experiencing a STEMI are at risk of developing sudden cardiac arrest.  They require immediate Catheterization intervention by a trained cardiologist and treatment ranging from a stent to angioplasty to open heart surgery.   By expanding its services to include this enhanced level of care, SFMC provides direct response and medical care for area patients undergoing a STEMI, which minimizes risk for long term heart damage.

“Patients in our community have had to endure long ambulance transports to hospitals out of our region,” said SFMC President & CEO, Gerald Kozai.  “Now they have the high quality services, technology, and cardiac care specialists they need much closer to home.”

Supporting the hospital’s expansion of its Heart Center services is the honorable Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, 2nd District, who was guest speaker at the press conference.  Supervisor Ridley-Thomas stated, “The residents of South Los Angeles deserve access to high-quality services in their community and the opening of this new receiving center does just that.  Lives will be improved and even saved because of what is happening today.”

SFMC was successfully approved as a STEMI Receiving Center (SRC) by the LA County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency after an extensive survey with EMS officials in mid-January.  The STEMI Receiving Center Confirmation Agreement was ceremoniously signed at the press conference by SFMC and EMS representatives.  SFMC is now one of 34 STEMI Receiving Centers in LA County, and the only medical center providing these services within an approximate 10-mile radius of the medical center, which serves major regions of South and Southeast Los Angeles.

“Coronary disease is the leading cause of death in the community we serve,” said Kozai.  “Yet there is a marked shortage of STEMI Receiving Centers in our service area, which is why we took the steps to fill this gap and further SFMC’s commitment to serve our community’s needs.”



Published: March 20, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 49