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Oldham is "HeartSafe"

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By Kenny Colston

The Kentucky Department of Health has named Oldham County its tenth “HeartSafe Community” in the state, thanks to partnership efforts between Baptist Health La Grange and Oldham County EMS.

Hospital, EMS and state officials unveiled the new designation last week with two new signs. Also at the event, officials showcased the county’s new ambulance, which will be outfitted with the latest medical advancements for cardiac care.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Kentucky,” Baptist Health La Grange President Chris Roty said. “And now that Oldham County has been designated a HeartSafe Community, anyone here suffering a sudden cardiac arrest will have the best possible chance for survival.”

Oldham joins neighboring counties Shelby and Jefferson as communities with the state designation.

In conjunction with the new designation, Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele named Sept. 4 “HeartSafe Community Day” and presented the proclamation to Roty and EMS Executive Director Todd Early.

 The new designation comes thanks to changes in how EMS and doctors work to help someone experiencing a cardiac incident. Oldham EMS employees will now help troubleshoot any potential cardiac problems.

“Acute cardiac care is a team sport,” Dr. Bill Dillon, a Louisville doctor affiliated with Baptist, said. “ Now we’re asking (EMS) to make the diagnosis so we can speed things up.”

Baptist Health La Grange is also opening a cardiac center in January.

Baptist Health has helped manage Oldham EMS for the past year, sharing responsibilities with the Oldham County Ambulance Taxing District.

 “Doctors and nurses will know a cardiac situation before arrival,” Dr. Thomas Clark of the taxing district said. “The establishment of our community as a HeartSafe Community is a significant achievement.”