The Saint Thomas Chest Pain Network coordinates with local emergency responders and hospitals to offer a complete range of cardiac care and coordination between community providers and large cardiac facilities.
To underscore the importance of Saint Thomas Health System’s (STHS) ever-growing Chest Pain Network, Tod Lambert tells of a Winchester, Tenn., resident who – suffering chest pains a couple of years ago – got behind the wheel of his car to drive to a Nashville emergency room. “Along the way, he got in trouble and had to be brought the rest of the way by ambulance,” said Lambert, Saint Thomas’ cardiac service line executive.
Ensuring that smaller hospitals and local emergency responders are equipped and well-trained to handle chest pain emergencies – and that residents in the area are confident in the care available –
is what the network is all about.
“With the Chest Pain Network, we’ve put the Saint Thomas name on the community hospital emergency room, so people living in those communities can trust that if they get to their community hospital emergency room, they might as well be at Saint Thomas,” Lambert said.
The nonprofit Society of Chest Pain Centers promotes adoption of a protocol-based process, and interested hospitals apply to the society for accreditation. Baptist Hospital was STHS’s first accredited Chest Pain Center, then Saint Thomas Hospital and Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro followed. With its network, STHS has reached out to other hospitals in the region, serving as a consultant to help those facilities meet accreditation requirements. “We reach out to about 68 counties in Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky within a roughly two-hour drive time in any direction,” Lambert explained. “The Chest Pain Network allowed those emergency departments and those EMS systems to have a common protocol and a common approach to getting patients the care they needed as quickly as possible. The slogan for the Chest Pain Network is ‘Time is muscle.’”
Lambert said “probably the most significant aspect” of the network is its work with local emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Saint Thomas offers such responders a critical care training program, held annually in four different locations, and three full-time, critical care nurses drop in on local training sessions.
Members of the Saint Thomas Chest Pain Network are:
- Saint Thomas and Baptist hospitals in Nashville, TN
- MTMC in Murfreesboro, TN
- Southern Tennessee Medical Center in Winchester, TN
- Henry County Medical Center in Paris, TN
- Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville, TN
- Crockett Hospital in Lawrenceburg, TN
- Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, TN
- Hickman Community Hospital in Centerville, TN
- Hardin Medical Center in Savannah, TN
- Lincoln Medical Center in Fayetteville, TN
- Livingston Regional Hospital in Livingston, TN
- Decatur County General Hospital in Parsons, TN
- Monroe County Medical Center in Tompkinsville, KY
Lambert said he expects at least one more hospital to join the network sometime this spring.