The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

June 15, 2009

RGH gains accreditation

With heart disease on the rise in southern West Virginia, it is critical that both patients and medical providers quickly recognize the symptoms of heart attacks.

Raleigh General Hospital has taken a huge step in ensuring patients get the best treatment possible as it recently went through the rigorous process of achieving accreditation as West Virginia’s first Chest Pain Center.

The hospital, according to CEO Karen Bowling, received such accreditation last week from the Society of Chest Pain Centers, a nationally recognized organization.

“We wanted to make sure the community knew how important this was to us,” Bowling said, explaining the importance of properly caring for patients with heart disease.

Dr. Kate Corbin, director of RGH’s emergency department, said all nurses, doctors and hospital staff received specialized education, learning all possible symptoms they might encounter in a patient in the throes of a heart attack.

Additionally, Paul Seaman, director of operations for Jan-Care Ambulance, said EMS workers will also be an important part of the system as they are often the first people patients encounter. As a result, the workers are also trained to recognize symptoms and have the ability to perform EKGs en route to the hospital, in order to provide information to doctors and nurses.

“Instead of having somebody present and finding out it was a heart attack five hours later, we’re trying to identify early and treat appropriately,” Corbin said of the “streamlined” process, adding she believes early treatment will help decrease the mortality rate.

Also of great importance, Corbin said, is for patients to recognize symptoms, as the hospital staff cannot help someone who doesn’t seek treatment.

Corbin listed shortness of breath, chest, jaw and arm pains and what might appear to be indigestion as possible signs of a heart attack.

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