Time is Heart

When it comes to life saving measures, Divine Savior Healthcare Emergency Medical Services EMS and Emergency Room ER staff are setting gold standards. Partnering with UW Health, St. Mary’s, and UnityPoint Health – Meriter, the Divine Savior EMS and ER have become a trusted emergency response team for the surrounding communities. The team was quick to learn that their response times have been beating the standard response times when it came to ST segment elevation myocardial infarction STEMI  patients patients having a heart attack and patients going into cardiogenic shock patients with significant heart damage, when the heart is unable pump blood effectively to meet the body’s demands.

http://www.dshealthcare.com/sites/dshealthcare.com/assets/images/News-Events/IMG_3413.JPG Divine Savior Healthcare educators 
and paramedics demonstrate hands-only
CPR during Heart Health Day at
Divine Savior on September 8th, 2016.

Dr. Amish Raval, Medical Director for UW Health Regional ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction Program stated, “You are one of the regional hospitals setting the gold standard.”

In an interview with the Divine Savior Healthcare Emergency Services Director, David Spannagel and EMS Supervisor, Cody Doucette, they both agreed it’s all about time. “Time is life and time is heart,” they stated.

Divine Savior Healthcare feels very fortunate to have professionals on staff who are trained and equipped to help patients who are suffering from STEMI or cardiogenic shock. Whether it be a 9-1-1 call or a patient walking into the ER, the team can administer, diagnose, and treat a patient, all while in route to UW, St. Mary’s or UnityPoint Health – Meriter Hospital. There are specific protocols when it comes to caring for patients with these cardiac concerns and because of the partnerships and trust Divine Savior has built with the three receiving hospitals, staff at Divine Savior is able to communicate with cardiologists and transfer data directly to them to make the transport as smooth as possible.

As Spannagel explains, “We call it right. Our false activations are very low and the trust we have built allows us to contact the cardiologist earlier to get the transfer process going right away.”

In addition to the patients cared for at Divine Savior Healthcare, the Divine Savior EMS staff provides paramedic level services to many of the outlying services that are not equipped to provide treatment. Divine Savior has become known as the go-to facility to aid in the transportation of a patient to the appropriate level hospital. They help outlying services get EKG intercepts sooner and help keep response times down. Doucette said because of the efficiency of being able to respond to a patient, stabilize, and administer medications, all while in route to another hospital, Divine Savior’s ambulance is a safe and sometimes unbeatable way to transport patients.

When breaking down response times and numbers, the benchmark for a standard EKG hookup is 10 minutes. Divine Savior Healthcare’s average is 4 minutes. From the time a patient first see’s medical contact to the time they are at a cardiac catheterization lab, connected to a device and being cleared, the standard benchmark is 120 minutes. Divine Savior Healthcare’s average is 104 minutes.

These times say a lot about the priority Divine Savior Healthcare makes for each patient, making each response time count, and making sure each person is receiving extraordinary care. As Spannagel and Doucette share, “It all starts by being taken care of from the beginning and working with a great team at Divine Savior. It’s not just the EMS and ER that are making a difference, it’s respiratory therapists, doctors, nurses, registration, health unit coordinators, lab, radiology, to name a few. Everyone has a part in saving a life.”

These efforts don’t go unnoticed, as Amy Shepard, UW STEMI/Shock Program Manager noted, “Your organization’s dedication to quality care and outcomes is apparent and is something to be proud of.” 

Earlier this year, Divine Savior EMS and ER teams had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Amish Raval and Amy Shepard to learn what’s new with the UW Health Acute Care Cardiology program and how they’re looking at ways to create new programs to improve cardiogenic shock treatment. Both teams are very excited about the partnership and working together to continuously improve measures that help save lives and impacting patients in a positive way.

All News Items


Experiencing a dull pain in the pit of your stomach

Stomach PainGastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and gallbladder disease are two very common disorders. Knowing which one you have may be trickier than you think. Symptoms may be vague, such as a “dull pain in the pit of your stomach”, making it hard for you to explain to your doctor what’s exactly going on.

At Divine Savior Healthcare, General Surgeons, Dr. Eric Anderson and Dr. Joshua Pogorelec, have seen many patients with these symptoms and after further examination are able to help  diagnose and treat both diseases.

What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD refers to stomach contents moving into the esophagus causing a burning sensation commonly referred to as heartburn. Other symptoms may occur as well, such as pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, nausea and an acid taste in your mouth.  If this continue, prolonged exposure of the esophagus to stomach contents can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus.  This in turn can result in difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing or permanent damage to the esophagus.

Although not all reflux results in symptoms or damage to the esophagus, common symptoms include:
• Heartburn
• Acid regurgitation
• Belching
• Difficulty or pain when swallowing
• Waterbrash sudden excess of saliva
• Dysphagia the sensation of food sticking in the esophagus
• Chronic sore throat
• Laryngitis
• Inflammation of the gums
• Erosion of the enamel of the teeth
• Chronic irritation in the throat
• Hoarseness in the morning
• A sour taste
• Bad breath
• Coughing at night

What is gallbladder disease?
The gallbladder is located below the liver on the upper right side of the abdomen. The main function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is made in the liver and allows fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Any condition that affects the gallbladder is considered a disease, and there are many different scenarios that fall under gallbladder disease:
• Inflammation
• Gallstones
• Common bile duct stones
• Biliary Dyskinesia
• Infection
• Perforated gallbladder
• Gallbladder polyps
• Porcelain gallbladders
• Gallbladder cancer

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec share "the most common disease of the gallbladder is gallstones. Most people with gallstones do not even know they have them.  Once they cause problems, the gallbladder may need to be removed. Symptoms include pain below the right rib cage or in the “pit” of the stomach. This pain may radiate to the right upper back, chest, or shoulder. Other symptoms may include, bloating, nausea or vomiting, fever or chills, chronic diarrhea, jaundice yellow-tinted skin, or unusual lighter-colored stools or dark urine.”

After taking a closer look at GERD and gallbladder disease, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec are able to provide helpful insight on common distinguishing factors between the two diseases.

Common distinguishing factors:
• Location: Although both may feel like a “pit in your stomach”, if you experience symptoms located closer to your throat or in your chest it is more likely to be GERD related. Symptoms located near your right lower rib radiating into your right upper back, chest and shoulder are more likely to be associated to your gallbladder.
• Pain: Unlike GERD, gallbladder pain usually begins suddenly, and changing positions, belching, passing gas or taking medications rarely helps pain symptoms go away.
• Timing: With heartburn being the most common symptom of GERD, symptoms of reflux are likely to occur shortly after eating, where symptoms of gallbladder disease usually occurs several hours after eating and have more consistent patterns of reoccurrence the same time each day.

What does treatment look like?
The symptoms of GERD are commonly and effectively treated with over-the-counter medications such as anti-acids and proton pump inhibitors. However, if relief does not go away from these medications your provider may recommend you be evaluated by one of our surgeons at Divine Savior.

After a thorough history and physical, our surgeons may recommend further evaluation of the esophagus and stomach with endoscopy.  Similar to colonoscopy, but without the need for prep, upper endoscopy allows the surgeon to visualize the esophagus, stomach and intestine to evaluate for damage to the esophagus, infection and a hiatal hernia.  Depending on the findings, further testing may be indicated to evaluate the function of the esophagus. 

Patients with severe GERD benefit from surgery to prevent reflux from occurring.  This procedure is commonly performed by both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec, is minimally invasive, and very effective at treating GERD.  In fact, most patients no longer require any antacid medications after the procedure.

If you are found to have stones in the gallbladder causing symptoms, the best course of action is to have the gallbladder removed.  Leaving the stones in place will continue to cause pain and may result in serious infection of the gallbladder and bile ducts, jaundice or pancreatitis. 

Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pogorelec routinely perform minimally invasive removal of the gallbladder.  This is most often an outpatient procedure and very successful.  After a short recovery, most patients will find their symptoms are gone and they are able to live a normal life. 

If you experience symptoms related to GERD or gallbladder disease, or have concerns about either, it is best to consult your provider for further examination. Treatment for either disease varies person to person, but taking action immediately and being properly treated can help you prevent problems from worsening.

To schedule an appointment with Divine Savior Healthcare General Surgeons, Dr. Anderson or Dr. Pogorelec, call 608-745-5176.

All News Items