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Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital officially launched their new stroke program. The program, a contractual arrangement between Hazel Hawkins, Good Samaritan Hospital and SAGE Neurology Group, offers patients suffering from stroke or other neurologic emergencies immediate 24/7 access to board certified, fellowship trained neurologists via telemedicine, utilizing  “InTouch TeleStroke” equipment in the Emergency Department provided by Good Samaritan.

Suspected stroke patients are quickly assessed by the Hazel Hawkins emergency room staff and a CT scan is performed to determine if there is a blood clot or other brain injury. Hospital staff contacts the teleneurologist who is immediately able to remotely access the CT results and is then able to visually evaluate the patient utilizing the “InTouch TeleStroke” video equipment. This robotic video equipment is positioned so the teleneurologist can maneuver a camera to clearly see the patient and communicate with the patient and Hazel Hawkins ER staff. The live video consultation facilitates the real-time evaluation of the patient’s condition and upon obtainment of clinical data, the teleneurologist will provide orders to direct patient care that can be carried out by hospital staff.   

“The expediency of the teleneurology evaluation allows for better care of the patient and quicker administration of ‘clot busting drug’ known as tPA if a blood clot is present,” said Wendy Bell, RN, NVRN-BC, a neurovascular registered nurse and stroke program coordinator at Hazel Hawkins. “The agreement with Good Samaritan Hospital and HCA also allows for a smooth facilitation of patient transfer if a higher level of care is needed.”  

Bell, along with ER and other clinical staff, underwent extensive training on stroke evaluation and care protocols in order to launch this program.

Hazel Hawkins Chief Executive Officer, Ken Underwood, commented, “We are committed to serving our local community and delivering the best clinical care to our patients. This TeleStroke service is an innovative approach that benefits stroke patients when they need a neurologist most. We are pleased to be working with SAGE Neurology Group and look forward to delivering high quality and effective health care.”

Stroke Warning Signs:

  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.