Forsyth Medical Center receives award for heart attack care

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- William McKenna had his clubs ready for a usual round of golf at Tanglewood Golf Club, but nothing would be usual about Thursday, Aug 25.

“I played 16 holes. That’s the last I remember for a couple of hours,” he said.

McKenna’s wife, Marilyn, was not at the golf course that day, but people there told her what happened.

“He was in the sand trap, missed a putt and collapsed,” she said.

McKenna’s heart stopped.

Clubhouse employees rushed to his side using an AED and performing CPR before he was rushed to Forsyth Medical Center.

“The hospital took immediate action,” Marilyn McKenna said. “When he got there, there was no time wasted.”

McKenna had a heart attack.

It was the seconds afterward that would really count.

McKenna’s story is an example of the quick decisions emergency personnel are required to make daily.

“The goal is for a patient to be whisked into the emergency department, into a room, an EKG to be performed within 10 minutes,” said Dr. Terri Terlecki, a Novant Health emergency physician.

Forsyth Medical Center has received the Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Quality Achievement Award.

It’s an honor for implementing specific measures to promptly treat severe heart attack patients according to guidelines from the American Heart Association.

The guidelines place an emphasis on patients who suffer an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) -- a serious type of heart attack and the most deadly.

“We don’t pause for labs, we don’t pause for EKGs. The patient is immediately prepped to go to the cath lab, the cardiologist is immediately called,” Terlecki said.

To expedite the process, hospital staff can access EKG information as EMS crews are in the field driving to the emergency department.

McKenna is back home recovering after having a defibrillator and pacemaker put in.

He and is family are thankful for the quick action of others.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program focuses on prompt treatment from the beginning of the 911 call through hospital treatment.

Forsyth Medical Center had at least 24 consecutive months of a 75 percent or higher compliance ranking on all measures for STEMI patients.