An account of how a large Catholic medical center has lost its way. Go to to see recent updates.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Basic Drugs

OSF-SFMC has a penchant for taking really good doctors and turning them into really bad assistant administrators. A significant number of former mentors and teachers of mine have become assistant administrators at OSF. A number of them have broken my heart because of the faith I had in them while I was a resident physician and attending physician at OSF.

Up until several years ago, the Peoria Fire Department could not even give basic drugs at the scene of a 911 call. The basic drugs include aspirin, albuterol (for breathing problems), and adrenalin for an allergic reaction. Aspirin is very important in the early stages of a heart attack and the earlier the patient receives the aspirin, the better he does. Since 2003, with the project medical director getting questioned in the media, most of the basic units (including the PFD) can now give basic drugs. This, of course, should have happened years ago. The Peoria doctors running the show were late again.

One day several years ago I called one of the OSF assistant administrators and asked him what he would think if his patients were not being offered an aspirin by the fire department for the last 10 years when it appeared as if they were having a heart attack. (He is a cardiologist and understands the importance of early aspirin administration to heart attack victims.) His response, unbelievably, was that “it depended on why I was asking the question…”

When I asked him if he had told Dr. Hevesy, then the project medical director who had responsibility for overseeing pre-hospital, emergency care in Peoria, that he needed to make a financial disclosure that he was receiving a salary from AMT (who would give the aspirin to the patient at the scene of a heart attack and charge the patient for it), he replied that he had told Hevesy that it was important to make this disclosure. (This is done throughout the medical literature now because so many authors of articles have stock or financial incentives in a certain drug or medical procedure). I told the administrator/physician that Hevesy needed to make this disclosure to the appropriate people—The Peoria City Council.

It did not sound like the administrator/physician was going to be demanding that Hevesy disclose his salary from AMT to the Council. The Council and the people of Peoria need to know the AMT-Hevesy connection.

The PFD still cannot give advanced life support drugs and Hevesy has made no financial disclosure to the City Council. It is just sad to see the physicians who should be protecting the public, not being aggressive with advancing the PFD’s ability to increase the level of medical care for Peoria.
April 30, 2006

In the journal "Academic Emergency Medicine" there was an interesting article published this month. It is titled, "Community Intervention by Firefighters to Increase 911 Calls and Aspirin Use for Chest Pain".

Quoting from the article, "Experimental and clinical investigations have shown that early administration of aspirin during an AMI (heart attack) significantly reduces AMI (heart attack) mortality." This statement was referenced by three studies published between 1994 and 1997. The article continues, "Thus, there are important reasons that patients should be encouraged to take an aspirin when they first experience symptoms of AMI (heart attack)".

Why weren't the Peoria Fire Fighters giving aspirin many years ago? Where are the memos from Drs. Hevesy and Miller explaining to the PFD the need to do this for Peorians suffering heart attacks when 911 was called? Other municipal fire departments around the state and nation were giving aspirin, why wasn't Peoria?

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