The Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority adopted a new procedure Tuesday that focuses on reviving those in cardiac arrest at the scene rather than rushing the patient to the hospital. It’s called “20 Minutes for Life.”

KCEAA Medical Director Dr. John Turley made the announcement Tuesday at headquarters in Charleston. He says the most recent studies have found that only 5-percent of those patients loaded up into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital survived cardiac arrest. The number is much higher when EMS performs CPR on scene.

“With this program in place, the experience has been survival rates run about 12-percent. That’s more than double the survival rate using the traditional method of immediate transport to the hospital,” according to Turley.

What will that mean for patients? Turley says paramedics and first responders will perform CPR on a cardiac patient for 20 minutes before loading them on an ambulance and sending them the hospital.

Turley says it might sound counterproductive but it will save lives.

“CPR is not effective during transportation because of the movement of the ambulance and the fatigue of the providers,” stresses Turley. “By the time a patient arrives at the hospital they have progressed too far and deteriorated too far for us to be able to revive them.”

He says you have a much better chance at surviving a heart attack or other cardiac emergency when EMS is able to provide sustained CPR.

“The paramedics have the same equipment and the same ability to perform CPR,” says Turley. “They have the same drugs we have in the hospital and they’re able to provide them sooner and more effectively than we can in the hospital.

The KCEAA wants the community to know about their new policy and why the change. Turley says it all comes down to one thing.

“To save as many lives as possible.”

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  • Richard

    Hindsight's 20/20, but I'm surprised this plan wasn't discovered and executed sooner....

  • wvman75

    I'll probably die after they send me the bill anyway.