Your husband is in the garage doing what he loves best, tinkering. You take him a glass of cold water because it is a hot summer day. He takes a sip and says he is not feeling too good and is obviously sweating, he complains of indigestion and suddenly has a difficult time breathing.
You call 911 as he slumps to the floor.
The Payson Fire Department arrives within minutes, although it seems like hours to you. They immediately recognize the signs of what may be a heart attack.
Those signs are confirmed as a paramedic equipped with the latest diagnostic equipment detects and begins treatment on scene to save his life. Prior to arriving by ambulance at the hospital, the emergency room doctor may have already received a "picture" of the patient's heart via a phone line.
This is a recurring scene across America.
Payson Fire Department responded to 90 medical calls in 2000 which were cardiac related. That's an average of seven per month.
Until recently Payson used a 3-lead EKG monitor which limited them to only three electrical views of the heart. They had to rely on other assessment techniques to determine stability, condition and proper treatment of a patient.
The fire department is now equipped with a 12-lead EKG monitor which helps paramedics better diagnose a patient suffering from a heart attack.
Recent advancements in technology have made it possible, and affordable, for the fire department to obtain machines which offer 12 views of the heart.
The machines provide diagnostic capability along with the ability to fax the information to the emergency department physician for analysis. This capability can significantly improve the speed of care a patient receives once they reach the hospital.
"This equipment was previously only used at hospitals," Payson Fire paramedic Dan Bramble said. "We can now hook this up to a patient and see 12 views of the heart versus three."
The Payson Fire Department now has a 12-lead EKG machine at both fire stations.
The light-weight monitor is compact, runs on batteries and is also equipped with a defibrillator.
"In heart attack situations, time is heart muscle, and administering the necessary medications is critical for a positive outcome." Bramble said. "With this new technology, the Payson Fire Department can now deliver a higher level of care and customer service to the citizens of Payson and the surrounding area."