As an Emergency Department physician and a senior leader at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH), I feel compelled to respond to the editorial cartoon in the February 16 issue of The Record.
The editorial cartoon is completely inaccurate, misleading and dangerous, and it is important for the public to understand why. When an individual is experiencing chest pain, dial 9-1-1. Evidence is clear across the nation that a heart attack victim has a better chance of survival by calling 9-1-1 versus walking into a hospital.
University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital has and will continue to follow the protocols established by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) in treating patients with heart attack symptoms.
That protocol states that a patient experiencing heart attack symptoms should be taken directly to a Cardiac Intervention Center (CIC). In Harford County, that CIC is University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air. This is an excellent example of how regionalization of care improves outcomes and the health of the community.
The MIEMSS protocol has been in place for many years and will continue to be followed once the new facility is built in Bulle Rock. There would be no change in how patients with heart attack symptoms are treated, whether they come to University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital or to the new freestanding medical facility in Bulle Rock.