HADH Receives Commendation for Stroke Treatment

Article Date: January 12th, 2015


Twice in the month of December of 2014 Hermann Area District Hospital Emergency Department, along with Hermann Area Ambulance District, has provided high quality medical intervention to prevent suspected strokes.

HADH’s response times are among the fastest in the area: ninety five percent of emergency department patients are seen by a nurse within two minutes and a doctor within ten minutes. Hermann Area District Hospital and Hermann Area Ambulance District utilize a system in which the critical care paramedics assist the hospital staff with stroke patients as well as other critically ill patients.

In the case of a stroke, timely response is critical. According to the American Stroke Association, when a stroke is suspected, “time lost is brain lost.” A stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off to an area of the brain. When this occurs, cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die, the abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as memory or muscle control, can be permanently lost.

Stroke symptoms can include face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty, confusion, difficulty seeing, sudden dizziness or loss of balance or severe headache.

A CT brain scan is often ordered to diagnose a stroke. At HADH, a patient can undergo the scan procedure while a physician from Boone Hospital Center remotely accesses and reads the results.

Both patients were given a clot dissolving drug to help stop the stroke symptoms. This drug, considered the “gold standard” in stroke care, works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood. The patients were later transferred to Boone Hospital Center’s Stroke Center via the Hermann Area Ambulance Service.

Jaya Parker, MD, of Hermann Area District Hospital, recommends that anyone experiencing stroke symptoms “get an ambulance as soon as possible. It is best to come by ambulance since EMS can save time by checking other things.” Dr. Parker explained that a patient’s response time to the onset of symptoms has an effect on what treatment physicians can offer. “It is safe to give the [clot dissolving] medication within three hours.” After the three-hour mark, the drug can have potentially risky side effects.

“It is important to come in well in time,” after symptoms appear, as several tests must be run to determine a proper diagnosis. “We must run a CT, get the results, fully evaluate the patient and talk to a neurologist,” all before any treatment can commence, says Dr. Parker.

Upon review of the cases by Boone Hospital Center’s Stroke Center in Columbia, Missouri, HADH’s staff was praised for “excellent work, rapid administration of [treatment], rapid transfer,” and it was stated that “all…facilities should follow [HADH’s] example.”

The speed and accuracy of HADH Emergency Department staff and the well trained staff of the Hermann Area Ambulance District, along with the patient’s knowledge to come to the emergency department made the difference between these patients exhibiting long lasting disability and stopping the stroke.