Local Man Says He Owes His Life to Bay Medical Center’s Heart Attack Center

The announcement that the center has been named as a center of excellence is no surprise to him.

Bruce Starling was set to go hunting not too long ago when he started having chest pains. Like most people he brushed it off as just something he ate. When the pain didn't let up the next day, he made his way to Bay Medical.

"They sent me right up to the cath lab, I had a 100 percent blockage artery one then I had two that were 95 percent blocked. Another one he was able to get some blood flowing, but then he told me he would have to do a bypass on me. I looked at him and said: ‘but I'm too young for that’ and he said: ‘no I've done it on younger than you.’ "

Hundreds of outcomes like Starling's led to Bay Medical's heart attack center being named a center of excellence by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, one of the toughest evaluation organizations in the country.

Bay Medical is the first in the state and one of a very few in the nation to get this gold seal of approval.

Steve Johnson is Bay Medical’s CEO and says, "I think more important is the fact that we really are raising the standard not only in hospital but in the community."

Back in December the commission put Bay Medical through an extensive evaluation process. The hospital had to meet or go beyond the national benchmarks set in all areas of patient care dealing with the heart.

Johnson says that starts from the time the patient calls EMS.

“How long it takes is important. Neysa comes in, she's got a heart attack. She comes in ER. How long does it take for her to get upstairs and have the availability of a stent if that's what's needed? Our time is less than 120 minutes.”

Johnson says it all comes down to time. The sooner you get treatment for a heart attack, the greater your chances of surviving and avoiding permanent damage.