Having the right tools to do a job are so important.Grosse Pointe Shores EMS wholeheartedly agrees, especially after the recent gift given to them by St. John Hospital for a 12-lead EKG system for their ambulance. This allows EMS personnel to do 12-lead EKGs at a person’s home, determining if they are having an active heart attack and alerting the hospital’s ER and cath lab to be ready for their arrival.This technology is new for Grosse Pointe Shores, and several other municipalities received updated equipment, including Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe Woods and Grosse Pointe Farms. The gift is from the Elizabeth, Allen, and Warren Shelden Fund.“St. John Hospital and Medical Center is a recognized leader in cardiovascular services and we are pleased to support its excellence while serving the community” said Bill Shelden, president.It cost nearly $18,000 for the new and updated equipment.“During a heart attack, it is well known that time is heart muscle,” said Robert Takla M.D. and chief of St John’s emergency medicine. “We know if can get a heart attack patient to the cath lab quicker, our interventional cardiologist can open the blocked arteries and the patients will have a much better outcome. Having EKG machines in the field with the ability for EMS to transmit and communicate with us saves valuable time and allows us to be better care for heart attack patients in our community.”The hospital’s goal is to get the door to balloon time to under 60 minutes. The gold standard from the American College of Cardiology requires 90 minutes. This time refers to the point when the person enters hospital doors until the heart vessel is opened in the cath lab and blood is again flowing unrestricted. In Grosse Pointe Woods, earlier in 2012, EMS responded to a call and were able to diagnose a heart attack and get the patient to St. John Hospital, in 50 minutes.“The ability to diagnose this patient’s heart attack allowed for initiation of immediate treatment and as important the ability to mobilize the ‘heart attack’ team from the field. We were waiting for the patient as he arrived. This collaboration between the Emergency Services and the hospital likely saved this man’s life,” said Thomas LaLonde, Chief of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Services.The hospital also regularly educates EMS personnel on how to read EKGs and use equipment.Local EMS improve ability to diagnose heart attacks with St. John’s help.