Grateful Heart Attack Victim Says: 'Day Kimball and UMass Memorial Have Heart Attack Care Down to a Science'

PUTNAM, CT – A cardiac care partnership between Day Kimball Hospital and UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester makes it advantageous for many heart attack sufferers in northeast Connecticut to first seek care at the Day Kimball Emergency Department, a review of 2008 healthcare data shows.

Nearly 30 people survived heart attacks in this manner last year because the program enabled these patients to go directly from Day Kimball to the UMass Memorial catheterization lab, bypassing the Worcester hospital's emergency department, in an average of 121 minutes. The national community hospital average for what is known as "door-to-balloon time" is 211 minutes. Saving time in these cases is crucial because the longer a patient's artery is blocked the more permanent damage the heart can suffer.

"We work very hard to ensure that our patients have the highest quality of care possible," said Steven Wexler, M.D., Medical Director of Day Kimball Hospital's Emergency Department. "Part of that work is to improve our door-to-balloon times for cardiac patients in order to save heart attack victims from suffering permanent damage. The partnership we share with UMass Memorial is a wonderful thing for our hospitals, our patients and our community."

Continuous measurement and management of door-to-balloon times has enabled Day Kimball and UMass Memorial teams to fine tune how they coordinate services. Day Kimball continues to reduce its average timing, especially in the last 18 months. Today, with Day Kimball staff cardiologists also granted privileges at UMass, and the Day Kimball emergency department physicians able to activate the catheterization lab at UMass Memorial, myocardial infarction patients transferred from Day Kimball Hospital to UMass Memorial receive their angioplasty on average almost twice as fast as patients who arrive at other community hospitals throughout the nation.

Patients who were successfully treated in this way praised the care they were given by the partnership program. Cardiac patient, Daniel Lambert of Rogers, CT, said "I was never scared or worried. It mesmerized me how these two hospitals have it down to a science." Lambert, 55, suffered a myocardial infarction, the most severe type of heart attack on July 30, 2008 and returned home three days later. "From the time I went to Day Kimball to the time I was in recovery at UMass Memorial, everything was planned, organized and fast," said Lambert.

"I got everything I needed from Day Kimball," said Whitby Ellsworth, 76, of Putnam, "It was enormously beneficial for me to go to Day Kimball and then to UMass Memorial. I can't imagine having had a better experience with any other hospital." Ellsworth suffered a heart attack on December 3, 2008.

After patients are released from the hospital, Day Kimball Healthcare's cardiac rehabilitation team takes over care. At the rehabilitation center, patients exercise under clinical supervision to strengthen their heart muscle. Most heart attack patients participate in the program for 12 weeks. Ellsworth is still attending the cardiac rehab program. "Rehab is going great," he said. "The staff is terrific and it amazes me that everyone really knows me and is able to make me feel comfortable."

UMass Memorial Medical Center is the number one rated hospital in Massachusetts for heart attack survival, and number two in the nation, according to national quality measures.

Day Kimball Hospital is part of Day Kimball Healthcare, a comprehensive, integrated medical services provider serving Northeast Connecticut. On average, Day Kimball Hospital treats approximately 100 patients each year for a heart attack out of an average of 5500 hospital admissions and 29,000 ER visits annually.

"For more than two decades, Day Kimball and UMass Memorial have worked together on multiple clinical collaborations," said Douglas Waite, M.D., Vice President for Medical Affairs for Day Kimball Healthcare. "One of the best examples of our work is in cardiac care. The combination of excellent cardiology and emergency room providers at Day Kimball, along with the close proximity of such a prominent, academic, medical center is a benefit for all people of Northeast Connecticut." 

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