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SJCH Receives Kern County's First Platinum Award for Cardiac Care

Heart Health BAKERSFIELD, CA — FEBRUARY 19, 2015 — It was just another work day for 61-year-old Jesus Pimentel. But as it unfolded, November 14, 2014 turned into one he and his family will never forget. While he doesn't recall everything that happened, he's forever thankful for his quick-thinking co-workers and the dedicated staff at San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH).

It was Friday and Pimentel was preparing to leave work and head home, when he suddenly collapsed alongside his co-workers at Bolthouse Farms. Realizing he was suffering from a heart attack, they immediately called an ambulance, performed CPR and revived him with an automated external defibrillator – a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock to help restore heart rhythm during cardiac arrest. Pimentel was then rushed to SJCH.

While undergoing care, his heart stopped several times. Although the family was prepared for the worst, they continued to hope for the best. “We just believed in the care he was getting at San Joaquin Community Hospital and in the power of prayer,” said Jesus’ wife, Margaret.

Thankfully, Jesus was in the right place. In 1972, SJCH was the first hospital in Kern County to perform open-heart surgery. Since then, the hospital has continued to provide top-notch cardiac care for patients throughout the community. At a press conference on February 19, the hospital announced that it had received the American College of Cardiology’s Platinum Performance Achievement Award – the first time a hospital in Kern County has been given this level of recognition.

To receive this award, SJCH had to meet specific performance standards for heart care – which are based on the American Heart Association’s clinical best practices – for eight consecutive quarters. Areas that are measured include administering aspirin upon arrival, timely restoration of blood flow to the blocked artery, smoking cessation counseling and cardiac rehabilitation.

“My favorite part about this award is that it truly represents our entire organization,” said President and CEO Doug Duffield. “Almost every employee in our hospital – whether they work in the Emergency Room, ICU or in one of our outpatient service areas – plays a role in providing our patients with extraordinary heart care. This latest community first is just further validation that we’re fulfilling our commitment of giving the citizens of Bakersfield and Kern County the high level of health care they deserve.”

The commitment of the hospital and its staff members is something all too familiar to Jesus and his family. After spending nearly two weeks in the hospital, Jesus was able to go home on Thanksgiving Day.

"He's our miracle,” said his sister, Maria Sanchez. “All the money in the world couldn't repay San Joaquin Community Hospital for the care he received.”

Just a few months later – with the help of weekly physical therapy sessions – Jesus is well on his way to a complete recovery and looking forward to resuming his fishing hobby with his sons.

“Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to receive some great awards and recognitions,” Duffield said. “But for me, these achievements take on even greater meaning when we realize that our work has a powerful effect on the patients and families we serve. I’m really proud to be part of an organization that is committed to making a positive difference for those that entrust us with the lives of their friends, family members and loved ones.”