Currently, the mainstay treatment to open arteries in the brain that have become clogged by a blood clot is the clot busting medicine TPA (tissue plasminogen activator). TPA has proven to be very effective in reestablishing blood flow through clogged arteries if given shortly after the onset of the stroke in accordance with strict protocols. Because the decision to give TPA must be made without undue delay, hospitals have been implementing Stroke Code policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the stringent requirements for administering TPA. As a result of these efforts, many hospitals now hold themselves out as providing expert stroke care. However, this can be deceiving.

Last month the results of two very important research projects pertaining to stroke were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Both research projects revealed the dramatic reduction in disability and increased independence that are experienced when patients having a stroke are treated with TPA and neurovascular thrombectomy (mechanical removal of clot), rather that with TPA alone. The potential for deception exist because not all hospitals, including many that are certified stroke care centers, have the ability to perform neurovascular thrombectomy. If a stroke patient who needed tPA and thrombectomy were to be taken to stroke center that did not offer thrombectomy, they would either experience a poorer outcome or waste time while they were transported to another hospital offering a higher level of care. When it comes to stroke, time lost is brain lost.

The care a person receives early in the stroke can affect their quality of life, for the rest of their life. This emphasizes the importance of knowing the stroke care capacity of the hospitals nearest to your home and insisting on being taken to the facility offering the highest level of care.

At the present time, there are three hospitals in Jacksonville that provide interventional stroke care: Mayo Clinic, UF Shands, and Baptist Medical Center Downtown.

Cases involving stroke are extremely complicated and require unique medical expertise and under-standing of this medical condition. If you or a loved one has suffered brain damage from a stroke and believe it may have been someone else’s fault, consider having Terrell Hogan investigate the stroke care that was furnished.

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