Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 4, 2010



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 4, 2010 

Groundbreaking Program Saving Heart Attack Victims in the San 
Gabriel Valley

Arcadia— A successful pioneer 
program for transferring victims of 
severe heart attacks to Methodist 
Hospital for advanced treatment is 
saving lives – and hundreds more could 
be saved if the plan were to be replicated 
throughout the country. 

Terrence Baruch, MD, medical director 
of Methodist Hospital’s catheterization 
laboratory, started the program in 2008. 
It has already saved dozens of lives and 
has potential to save countless more in 
the future. 

“Every year, two million people die in 
the U.S. – half of them from clogged 
arteries or complications from clogged 
arteries,” Dr. Baruch said. “If we set up 
systems like we have here at Methodist 
Hospital, we can have an enormous 
impact on heart disease – the number 
one killer in the U.S.”

The way was paved for the hospital’s 
program in 2007, when Los Angeles 
County started a network of hospitals 
capable of treating patients with acute 
ST elevation myocardial infarctions 
(STEMIs), the most severe type of heart 
attack. Through the county’s program, 
when paramedics responding to a 911 
call recognize the patient’s EKG patterns 
as a STEMI, they automatically take the 
patient to a STEMI-approved receiving 
center (SRC) – such as Methodist 
Hospital – that has angioplasty facilities. 

The system has proven very effective; 
however, people often fail to react 
quickly enough during a heart attack. 

“About half the people who experience 
STEMIs do not call 911, and they end 
up at hospitals without the appropriate 
facilities to treat them,” Dr. Baruch said. 

Community hospitals that have 
partnered with Methodist Hospital 
now avoid lengthy transport times with 
private ambulance services by calling 
911 and reporting a “Code STEMI/SRC 
transfer” for immediate transport of a 
STEMI patient to Methodist Hospital.

“The main goal of our STEMI patient 
transfer program is to provide our 
community and surrounding areas 
with access to the lifesaving technology 
available here at Methodist Hospital,” 
said nurse practitioner Alisa Rock, 
coordinator of the patient transfer 

For the STEMI patient, time is a matter 
of life and death. The longer the heart is 
deprived of oxygen, the more risk of the 
patient developing debilitating results 
or even death.

“The American Heart Association and 
the American College of Cardiology 
recommend we strive to get the artery 
open in less than 90 minutes and 
obtain that goal in at least 75 percent 
of STEMI patients,” Dr. Baruch said. 
Methodist Hospital’s cardiac chest 
pain team recently set a hospital record 
for unblocking a heart in 14 minutes 
door-to-balloon time (the time from 
the patient’s arrival at the hospital to 
the time the blocked artery is opened) 
– a very rare accomplishment for any 

As chair of the county’s STEMI 
receiving center advisory committee, 
Dr. Baruch is in a position to ensure 
that the hospital’s success spreads 
throughout, not only LA County, 
but also the nation. Currently, only 4 
percent of STEMI patients in the U.S. 
are transferred from one hospital to 
another for artery-opening angioplasty.

“My personal goal is to see to it that 
the level of care we have in this area is 
available to as many people as possible 
in the entire country,” Dr. Baruch said. 

Heart attacks are the leading cause 
of death for both men and women 
worldwide. Last year about one million 
Americans suffered heart attacks (acute 
myocardial infarctions). Of these, one-
third had STEMIs. Heart attacks occur 
when the blood supply is stopped or 
greatly reduced to part of the heart, 
usually due to coronary artery blockage. 
A STEMI is a severe heart attack caused 
by a prolonged period of blocked blood 
supply that affects a large area of the 

This type of attack means serious risk 
of death or disability and requires 
quick responses by people and systems 
– from those with or near the one 
having the heart attack (who should 
call 911 immediately) to the emergency 
response team and the hospital staff 
receiving the patient.

Most hospitals commonly treat STEMI 
cases with thrombolytic or fibrinolytic 
therapy (medication injections to break 
up a blood clot inside an artery or heart 
cavity). STEMI is best treated, though, 
with emergency angioplasty (balloon 
inflation) in a specialized cardiac 
catheterization laboratory. It must 
be done within a critical 90-minute 
window and is only available at about 
25 percent of U.S. hospitals. 

An article by Dr. Baruch and 
his team describing Methodist 
Hospital’s successful program was 
published in the September issue of 
Critical Pathways in Cardiology, A 
Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine. 
To view the article, visit the link 


In the article, Dr. Baruch states 
that “a simple, focused emergency 
transfer policy based on calling 911 
from a local community hospital 
can facilitate the transfer of patients 
to a STEMI receiving center and greatly 
reduce the time until treatment.” The 
article attributes a major factor in the 
program’s success to the use of the local 
EMS, activated by a 911 call by the 
referring hospital. The article further 
states that a significant amount of time 
is saved when emergency department 
staff at a community hospital only have 
to make one call instead of multiple 
calls trying to find the right person to 
treat the patient.

In June 2010, Methodist Hospital 
achieved three American Heart 
Association (AHA) milestones with 
these designations:

Get With the Guidelines – Heart Failure 
Gold Performance Achievement Award 

Get With the Guidelines – Stroke 
Bronze Performance Achievement 
Award Hospital

Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving 
Center Bronze Performance 
Achievement Award Hospital.

This means that the hospital has met 
stringent AHA guidelines “to improve 
quality of patient care and outcomes” 
for stroke, heart failure and heart attack 

About Methodist Hospital

Founded in 1903, Methodist Hospital is 
a 460-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving 
Arcadia and surrounding communities. 
Services include comprehensive acute 
care such as medical, surgical, perinatal, 
pediatrics, oncology, intensive care 
(neonatal and adult) and complete 
cardiovascular services, including open-
heart surgery. Methodist Hospital is 
accredited by The Joint Commission. An 
independent, not-for-profit organization, 
The Joint Commission is the nation’s main 
standards-setting and accrediting body in 
health care. 

For more information, visit www.

Terrence Baruch, MD

Zipping up a Celebration for Duarte 9.10.10

MOUNT WILSON, CA — The National 
Science Foundation has announced the 
award of a $1.48 million grant to the Mount 
Wilson Institute, which operates historic 
Mount Wilson Observatory in the San 
Gabriel Mountains above the Los Angeles 
Basin. The grant was awarded following 
a peer-reviewed competition in the NSF’s 
Academic Research Infrastructure: 
Recovery and Reinvestment Program. 

 “This is a major shot in the arm for us and 
reaffirms Mount Wilson’s ongoing role in 
contemporary astronomy,” said Dr. Hal 
McAlister, the Observatory director. “This 
grant will provide resources to renovate a 
significant portion of the aged infrastructure 
of the Observatory to ensure its continued 
viability as a site for astronomical research.” 
To the casual visitor, the most obvious result 
of this grant will be fresh paint, for the 
first time in decades, on the major historic 
telescope domes on the mountain. 

 Founded in 1904, Mount Wilson 
Observatory was home to the world’s largest 
telescopes during the first half of the 20th 
Century. The Observatory’s astronomers 
utilized those powerful instruments to 
revolutionize our understanding of the 
Universe. The Hubble Space Telescope was 
named for Mount Wilson’s most famous 
astronomer, Edwin Hubble. In the 1920s, 
Hubble used Mount Wilson’s 100-inch 
telescope, then the world’s largest, to show 
that we live in a galaxy among countless 
others populating a vast and expanding 
Universe. This launched a revolution in 
astronomical thought that set the science 
of astronomy on a new course. The Mount 
Wilson Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit 
corporation registered in California and 
operates Mount Wilson Observatory under 
an agreement with the Carnegie Institution 
of Washington. 

 The site is known for its excellent 
astronomical “seeing” conditions, resulting 
from smooth air flowing in from the cold 
Pacific Ocean and not becoming very 
turbulent until after passing inland from the 
San Gabriel Mountains. 

“The stars over Mount Wilson don’t twinkle 
as much as from most sites,” said McAlister, 
“which means that objects appear naturally 
sharper and more clearly defined through 
telescopes than they typically do from 
inland sites.” 

 While the bright skies of Los Angeles 
render the site no longer suitable for 
studying very faint objects in the distant 
Universe, Mount Wilson remains an 
outstanding site for observations that benefit 
from excellent seeing. Thus, the two original 
solar tower telescopes built before 1910 are 
still in daily operation on the mountain 
under direction of researchers from the 
University of Southern California and the 
University of California, Los Angeles. These 
two instruments routinely monitor the 
sun’s magnetic field, measure its vibrational 
motions and monitor the number and 
nature of sunspots and other phenomena on 
its surface. 

 Two other institutions, the University of 
California, Berkeley, and Georgia State 
University, have constructed modern, state-
of-art arrays of telescopes that utilize the 
technique of “interferometry.” This method 
allows two or more telescopes to be linked 
together to enable them to perform as a 
single much larger telescope in terms of 
their ability to see fine detail in astronomical 
objects. In particular, Georgia State’s 
CHARA Interferometer Array is for the first 
time producing images of the surfaces of 
normal-sized stars like the sun. Such stars 
have angular sizes equivalent to that of the 
period at the end of this sentence seen from 
a distance of 50 miles. 

 A year ago, Mount Wilson was in the 
midst of the Station Fire crisis which 
threatened to sweep the mountaintop, 
destroying irreplaceable historic facilities 
along with tens of millions of dollars in 
modern instrumentation. The Observatory 
is launching a “Second Century Campaign” 
to build a major new visitor center on the 
Observatory grounds. As a prelude to that 
venture, a new food venue, The Cosmic Café, 
was opened on the mountain this summer. 

The café is open weekends, including long 
weekends like the upcoming Labor Day 
holiday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

“Come visit Mount Wilson Observatory,” 
invites McAlister, “and stay tuned to our 
development goals up here. This grant 
is a real milestone in ensuring that the 
Observatory does indeed survive well into 
its second century.” 

Mount Wilson Observatory Awarded 
Renovation Grant

DUARTE, CA, September 3, 2010 -- What’s 
in a name? What’s in a zip code? Beverly 
Hills’ famed zip code 90210 may have a 
certain cachet that lends itself to the glitzy, 
star-studded celebration it had on 9.02.10. 
But Duarte 91010 believes that it too has a lot 
to be proud of as a city and with its coinciding 
date 9.10.10 just around the corner, reason to 
celebrate, with cake. 

 The City of Duarte is inviting the 
community to enjoy free cake and punch on 
Friday, 9.10.10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 
Duarte Senior Center, 1610 Huntington Dr., 
and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Duarte Teen 
Center, 1400 Buena Vista St. 

Duarte Chamber of Commerce offices at 
1105 Oak Ave., usually closed on Friday, 
will be open for business on 9.10.10 and will 
also host a community reception offering 
free cake and punch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
The Chamber will also offer a few special 
10% discounts on Duarte Route 66 T-shirts, 
Casino Night of Stars tickets, and 10% off 
coupons for the Chamber’s tasty pulled pork 
sandwiches to be served at the City Picnic on 
Sept. 18. 

“It’s our way of letting the community know 
that we value our citizens and business 
stakeholders. We have one of the most active 
and involved citizenries in the San Gabriel 
Valley,” said Deputy City Manager, Karen 

 Chamber President and Chief Executive 
Officer, Jim Kirchner agrees.

“Volunteerism is a way of life in Duarte with 
dozens of organizations that support the 
community providing services to ensure the 
welfare of those in need, to supporting our 
schools, helping to keep our youth safe and 
positively engaged, enhancing the cultural 
benefits of the community, and actively 
participating in government and civic affairs. 
It is precisely that which continues to make 
Duarte 91010 ‘Our Kind of Town’.” said 

 Celebrating is also a way of life in Duarte 
with many events upcoming including 
9.11.10, Casino Night of Stars, a benefit event 
for five nonprofit organizations: The Duarte 
Chamber of Commerce, Duarte Public 
Access (DCTV), Route 66 Parade, Duarte 
Senior Center, and Friends of the Duarte 
Library. On 9.18.10, Duarte’s Salute to Route 
66 Parade celebrates Duarte’s heritage on the 
historic highway, followed by the City Picnic 
and Classic Car Show, celebrating Duarte’s 
53rd anniversary of incorporation. The 8th 
annual Duarte Festival of Authors featuring 
more than 50 authors in talks, panels and 
book signings takes place at Westminster 
Gardens on 10.2.10.

 For more information about the Duarte 
91010 celebration, contact the Duarte 
Chamber of Commerce at (626) 357-3333 or 

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The Mt. Wilson Observatory - Aerial View MV News File Photo

MVNews this week:  Page 11