To the Editor:

To survive a heart attack, every moment counts.

Today, thanks to the diligence and cooperative spirit of professional and volunteer EMS providers in Fairfield and Litchfield counties, a heart attack victim at Danbury and New Milford hospitals has a better chance to survive because it takes less time for treatment to begin.

The Connecticut Hospital Association recently recognized Western Connecticut Health Network (Danbury and New Milford Hospital team members) with the 2013 John D. Thompson Award for excellence in the delivery of health care through the use of data for heart attack patients.

Six years ago, our hospital-based and EMS teams began to focus on how to tighten the "door to balloon" time -- the period from when a patient enters an emergency room to when treatment begins to unclog arteries, minimize heart damage and improve survival.

We studied our processes, identified opportunities to improve, trained teams of people and, thanks to the generosity of donors, purchased new equipment.

With these new resources, EMS teams within a 25-mile radius of our hospitals now routinely initiate "heart attack alerts" in the field to help hospital teams prepare for a patient's arrival at Danbury Hospital for advanced cardiac services.

In addition to electronic transmission of electrocardiograms, EMS/ambulance teams can make every moment count as they transport a victim to the hospital. That's how our teams now consistently exceed the standards set by the American Heart Association.

As we accept this recognition from CHA, we thank our community EMS providers for their professionalism and commitment.

Thanks to you, and the focus you bring to your work, we can offer the right care at the right time in the right place. Together, we make every moment count when the moments really matter.

Tom Koobatian, MD

Patrick Broderick, MD

Emergency Medicine

New Milford Hospital

Western Connecticut

Health Network