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Editorial: Governor Susana Martinez must make life-saving systems of care a priority

Did you know a STEMI is more commonly known as the “widow maker” and is the deadliest form of a heart attack one can experience? As a STEMI heart attack survivor, I know firsthand how improved systems of care can save a life when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly blocked.

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Senate Bill 80, sponsored by Senator Howie Morales and supported by the American Heart Association, was vetoed by Governor Susana Martinez last Thursday. Senate Bill 80 was the last step in completing the system of care for STEMI heart attack patients across New Mexico and would have encouraged local and regional EMS authorities to work in coordination with the Department of Health to create triage and transport protocols for those who suffer from a STEMI.

I am one of the fortunate few who survived that event and I attribute that to the speed, efficiency, and quality of the professional and personal care I received. That’s why I’m very concerned about Governor Martinez’ veto of a lifesaving bill, especially because Senate Bill 80 passed through the legislature unanimously. Other patients who suffer an acute event often have little or no chance to get the help they need because health facilities, agencies and professionals aren’t collaborating as closely as they should to provide the best care. Poor communication is the greatest enemy of the unity we need in our health community.

Many acute care hospitals in New Mexico still lack the necessary staff and equipment to effectively treat stroke and heart attack patients. To remedy this life-or-death problem, I urge Governor Susana Martinez to help New Mexico do more to protect the lives of thousands of residents by recognizing the importance of strong systems of care best medical centers to treat stroke and STEMI heart attacks and ensure that care is delivered as promptly as possible.

Stroke and STEMI continue to kill thousands of New Mexicans and remain some of the nation’s costliest diseases. To fight back against this growing health concern, Governor Susana Martinez must make life-saving systems of care a priority.

Let's turn our disappointment into ACTION and make sure the Governor knows we want to work together to improve care for STEMI, the deadliest of heart attacks. Take a moment to EMAIL the Governor TODAY in a few quick steps.  Get started HERE.

Don Bremner is a STEMI survivor and member of the American Heart Association State Advocacy Committee in New Mexico. 

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