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Closing Affinity Medical Center Could Impact EMS Services in Western Stark County

A judge's decison has put, at least for now, a hold on plans to wind down operations at Massillon’s Affinity Medical Center. However, if western Stark County’s only hospital does shut down, EMS services for the area are expected to be impacted.

Time is the issue, says Massillon Fire Chief Tom Burgasser. Taking critical patients to the ‘next nearest’ emergency rooms -- in Canton can add 10 to 20 minutes to getting them to needed help.  And, he says, that’s especially a problem for cardiac cases.

“In the cardiac world, time is muscle. Until you get cardiac intervention, you’re going to continue to experience the chest pains, you’re going to get heart damage. And that cardiac muscle is not able to be regenerated. Once you lose cardiac muscle, it’s gone.”

Burgasser, a long-time paramedic himself, says the Massillon Fire Department’s EMS units made more than 3,000 runs to Affinity Medical Center last year.

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