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"LifeNet" at Meadows Regional Medical Center
Friday, 26 October 2012

October 26--  Wireless Internet technology is saving lives in south Georgia.

Meadows Regional Medical Center and the Toombs County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) are using "WIFI" on a system called "LifeNet" to send medical information from the scene of an emergency to doctors at the the medical center in Vidalia.

Paramedic Dusty Findley placed electrocardiogram sensors on a heart patient in Montgomery County and transmitted the readings to the medical center via the Internet.

"I was in Uvalda and sent them the information so they'd know I had a heart patient coming in.  As soon as I got there, they started the treatment with things I couldn't do in the ambulance and got the patient to the cath lab a whole lot quicker than it would have been if they'd had to do a workup in the hospital," Findley says.

Cardiologist Dr. Peter Higgins got the information from Findlay on his cellphone.

"With this technology, we learn about the patient almost as soon as the ambulance arrives at the scene.  In the ideal case, that's thirty minutes of preparation which will happen while the patient is enroute to the hospital. When they arrive at the hospital, we are ready to treat them and it can happen much, must faster.   In the treatment of a heart attack, every thirty minutes represents about an eight percent mortality, meaning eight people out of a hundred die for every thirty minutes you have to wait.  So by us being ready when the patient arrives at the hospital, we can cut our times down veery significantly," Dr. Higgins notes.

He says use of the "LifeNet" system is even more important in rural areas.

"In a rural area, to be able to take the time spent on transportation and turn it into treatment time, it's invaluable," Dr. Higgins says.

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