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Dawn Fox, a registered respiratory therapist, connects a patient to EKG equipment Friday in the hospital's emergency department. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

Rapid heart treatment is saving lives

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WILLMAR -- It used to be that if you were a rural Minnesotan and had a severe heart attack, you didn't get the same level of care as someone who lived in the Twin Cities.

Rarely were heart-attack patients immediately transferred to another hospital for higher-level care, said Dr. George Gordon, chief medical officer and emergency physician at Rice Memorial Hospital.

"There was almost an assumption made that you didn't have any other option," he said.

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