Sec­onds are vi­tal when a stroke oc­curs

The Glengarry News - - Health, Beauty, Fitness, Nutrition -

Submitted by Corn­wall Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal “I didn’t think I was hav­ing a stroke, un­til I re­al­ized my right side went numb, and I felt weak,” ex­plains 67-year-old Phillip McMil­lan.

He was at his Ber­wick home when his body went limp and he could not feel his right side. A fam­ily mem­ber no­ticed, and called 9-1-1 for the am­bu­lance.

“When the am­bu­lance ar­rived, I was able to walk right in, and lay my­self down onto the stretcher,” Mr. McMil­lan re­calls.

On his way to the Winch­ester Dis­trict and Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal (WDMH) is when things got worse and it wasn’t long af­ter his ar­rival there that Mr. McMil­lan was en route again to Corn­wall Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal (CCH), one of three des­ig­nated Te­le­stroke sites in the Cham­plain Lo­cal Health In­te­gra­tion Network (LHIN) ter­ri­tory.

A stroke causes brain cells to die due to lack of oxy­gen, when a clot stops blood and oxy­gen from flow- ing to the brain or when the artery to the brain bursts. When a pa­tient ar­rives at CCH and is sus­pected of hav­ing a stroke like Mr. McMil­lan, the as­sess­ing Emer­gency De­part­ment physi­cian and nurse, de­ter­mine the need to page “Acute Stroke” over­head.

Rosa Awad Maglieri, Clin­i­cal Nurse Ed­u­ca­tor in the Emer­gency De­part­ment says, “Time is brain.”

This pop­u­lar stroke slo­gan em­pha­sizes that time is crit­i­cally im­por­tant when treat­ing stroke and the longer a pa­tient goes with­out in­ter­ven­tion, the more brain cells are dam­aged or die.

Pag­ing “Acute Stroke” trig­gers staff in CT to fin­ish with their cur­rent pa­tient and al­low the stroke pa­tient to jump the queue of other CT pa­tients. The paramedics bring the pa­tient to the CT de­part­ment and off­load him di­rectly onto the CT scan­ner ta­ble, in or­der to save time. This over­head page also prompts the lab­o­ra­tory staff to re­port to the emer­gency de­part­ment to re­trieve blood from the stroke pa­tient, as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Mean­while, the On­tario Tele­health Network (OTN) is set up for a con­sul­ta­tion with a neu­rol­o­gist, a doc­tor who spe­cial­izes in strokes.

Once the pa­tient re­turns to the emer­gency de­part­ment, CT images are up­loaded to en­able view­ing from any­where in the province.

“As an emer­gency de­part­ment nurse we wit­ness the detri­men­tal phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive ef­fects a stroke can have on a pa­tient when not treated in a timely man­ner. It brings us great sat­is­fac­tion to de­liver the ap­pro­pri­ate timely treat­ment im­pact­ing the pa­tient’s re­cov­ery and in fact, his qual­ity of life,” ob­serves Chase Hor­vath, the nurse in the emer­gency de­part­ment on the day Mr. McMil­lan came in.

In Mr. McMil­lan’s case, both the emer­gency de­part­ment physi­cian and the neu­rol­o­gist via OTN saw the clot in the CT images and dis­cussed his el­i­gi­bil­ity for the “clot bust­ing” med­i­ca­tion, as well as en­dovas­cu­lar ther­apy, the pro­ce­dure to re­move the clot. The physi­cian con­sulted with a neu­ro­sur­geon at the Ot­tawa Hos­pi­tal at the Civic Cam­pus and af­ter re­ceiv­ing the clot-dis­solv­ing med­i­ca­tion, Mr. McMil­lan was trans­ferred out for the emer­gency pro­ce­dure. The best time­frame for the clot re­moval pro­ce­dure to oc­cur is within six hours from the on­set of stroke symp­toms.

“I don’t re­mem­ber any­thing un­til I woke up in Ot­tawa, af­ter all the pro­ce­dures were over,” says Mr. McMil­lan.

He was trans­ferred back to Corn­wall and dis­charged home a week later, with no phys­i­cal or cog­ni­tive prob­lems. Mr. McMil­lan has also been able to re­turn to work.

“We’ve come such a long way in the treat­ment of stroke, and cases like th­ese are great to hear about,” says Heather Arthur, VP of Pa­tient Ser­vices and Chief Nurs­ing Of­fi­cer.

Re­mem­ber the acro­nym FAST: Fa­cial droop­ing, arm weak­ness, speech dif­fi­cul­ties and time.

RE­COV­ERY: Phillip McMil­lan and his wife Sherry

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