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Phoebe Heart & Vascular Recognizes Mitchell County EMS With Challenge Coins


Albany, GA | March 24, 2022 – Phoebe Heart & Vascular has started a new tradition of presenting Challenge Coins to individuals who go above and beyond caring for patients and community members. On Tuesday, March 22, Phoebe presented two challenge coins to Mitchell County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics, Charles Avery and Tammye Atkinson, for their quick action and lifesaving interventions that saved a patient experiencing a heart attack.

“The challenge coin is a symbol of honor and gratitude. We present a coin to recognize lifesaving and life-altering efforts that ensure patient safety. They are a challenge to exceed expectations in the care we provide all our patients,” said Doug Gregory, Vice President of Operations, Phoebe Heart & Vascular. 

Mitchell County EMS paramedics Avery and Atkinson were presented a challenge coin for their quick response to a patient with complaints of chest pain. The paramedics were able to transmit EKG information from the field to the emergency center, enabling physicians to determine the appropriate steps of care before the patient arrived. The door to reperfusion time for the patient was 35 minutes and the first medical contact to reperfusion was 83 minutes. Reperfusion is the restoration of blood flow that is cut off after a heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends the first medical contact to reperfusion time of 90 minutes. 

“It is greatly appreciated any time our crew is recognized. But, when a hospital reaches out to honor our paramedics and acknowledges the hard work we do, it strengthens that relationship which is essential in providing high-quality patient care,” added Jim McPherson, Operations Manager, Mitchell County EMS. 

Modeled after challenge coins used first by the military, the Phoebe coins commemorate meritorious service and can be presented to medical staff within the hospital, as well as in the field. Phoebe looks forward to putting the coins in the hands of more individuals and honoring those who remain calm in high-pressure situations and deliver lifesaving actions. 

Last year, Phoebe became the only Georgia hospital south of Atlanta to earn designation as a Level 1 Emergency Cardiac Care Center, Georgia’s highest level of emergency cardiac care.