Oro Valley Hospital temporarily suspends admission of cardiac arrest patients
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Oro Valley Hospital is temporarily not accepting cardiac arrest patients due to staffing issues.
Those experiencing a heart attack or chest pain will have to be taken to other area hospitals.
Northwest Healthcare, which runs the hospital, released the following statement.
“Like many hospitals across the country, staffing at Oro Valley Hospital remains incredibly tight as our caregivers work together to navigate this most recent COVID surge. Because we want to make sure patients get the right level of care, we openly communicate with our EMS partners when our capabilities change. At this time, we are unable to provide 24/7 call coverage in the Cath Lab at Oro Valley Hospital, so we have asked our EMS partners to temporarily transport cardiac patients to facilities with a higher level of care, including Northwest Medical Center. Our emergency department remains open and prepared to see all patients who come to us and we encourage the public not to delay when seeking care for a medical emergency.”
In a memo obtained by KOLD News 13, the EMS Medical Director for Northwest Healthcare informed providers the Arizona Department of Health Services removed the hospital as a ‘Cardiac Receiving Center.’
For some, this will mean a longer ambulance ride during a desperate situation.
“That’s changed some of our transport decision-making,” said Capt. Adam Jarrold with the Golder Ranch Fire District.
Golder Ranch paramedics respond to calls from Ina Road up the Oracle corridor to Biosphere 2. It’s a large area with an older population. Capt. Jarrold says cardiac calls are common.
“For some of the patients in the Northern part of our district, it is going to be adding some time to their transports,” he said.
It’s a bit concerning for Jarrold, who said the closest Cardiac Receiving Centers are now Banner UMC; which is about 16 miles south of Oro Valley Hospital, and Northwest Medical Center, which is about 11 miles southwest.
“Our paramedics are very well trained,” he said. “They are very well equipped to care for these patients.”
Jarrold said paramedics remain on the scene when CPR is needed because it allows them to provide better chest compressions. This, along with new technology, has allowed GRFD to double its survivability rate.
Jarrold said every hospital offers specific services.
“A woman in labor wouldn’t go to Oro Valley Hospital because they don’t have a Labor and Delivery Center,” he said. “Someone with significant trauma would never go to Oro Valley Hospital because Banner University is the most appropriate hospital for that.”
According to AZDHS, a hospital needs to meet several requirements to have a Cardiac Receiving Center, including the ability to provide intervention 24/7.
Jarrold said, especially during the pandemic, hospitals have constantly been updating their providers about their capabilities.
“So, we are really hoping to see that [Oro Valley Hospital] can get [the Cardiac Receiving Center designation] back,” he said.
A spokesperson for Northwest Fire District released the following statement:
“We are aware of the changes approved by the SAEMS Regional Council regarding the changes at Oro Valley Hospital. The District has made updates to our EMS guidelines that reflect the state’s guidance for patient transport.”
KOLD News 13 reached out to AZDHS for comment.
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