2009-09-25 / Community

SJEH Receives Stroke Center Designation

St. John's Episcopal Hospital recently was designated as a Stroke Center by the State Hospital Review and Planning Council of the New York State Department of Health. That means that patients who live in the area and suffer from an acute stroke can be treated speedily, increasing chances of survival and improved outcomes.

"This designation means that St. John's has met the State's specific and rigorous criteria to treat victims of stroke," said John Gupta, Chief Executive Officer of St. John's Episcopal Hospital.

"It is also a sign of the staff's clinical excellence and the Hospital's quality of care," he added.

St. John's Stroke Team is led by board-certified neurologist Kerin Hausknecht, MD, and includes neurologists, emergency medicine clinicians, radiologists, rehabilitation medicine specialists and nurses. The team will coordinate care and up-to-date training.

Dr. Hausknecht said, "As a designated Stroke Center, we have demonstrated that the moment a patient arrives with a stroke we are able to identify and treat them within minutes with the most up-to-date medical treatments available. We will be on hand to treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are committed to helping patients recover from stroke."

The criteria for stroke center status was developed from the Brain Attack Coalition Guidelines and are consistent with the American Stroke Association practice standards for the treatment of acute stroke patients. The Stroke Center Demonstration Project of 2003 showed that stroke centers provide significant improvement both in assessment and response times for acute stroke patients.

Since the acceptance of the use of thrombolytics for stroke treatment, which includes tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), the prompt use of the fast-acting clot-busters greatly reduce the risk of severe disability in people who suffer an acute stroke. An acute stroke is where a clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. But speed is essential and the drugs must be administered with the first three hours after the attack.

A stroke center designation means that the Hospital's Emergency Department is equipped with the appropriate diagnostic equipment and medical expertise. Ambulances will be notified to bring suspected stroke patients to the nearest stroke center. In addition, the Hospital also offers an easily accessible CT scan and MRI as well as the ability to provide follow-up care including physical therapy among other medical expertise. The Hospital is also committed to providing community outreach and education on the dangers of stroke.

According to the American Stroke Association, more than 795,000 Americans suffer from stroke every year. On average, a stroke occurs once every 40 seconds. Because speed is critical to the treatment of stroke, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

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