SAMC is the region's gold standard for providing patients with quality stroke care.
SAMC recently became the first hospital in the region to earn the prestigious Gold Plus Stroke Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. The Gold Plus Award is an advanced level of recognition acknowledging SAMC for compliance with the quality measures within the Get With The Guideline-Stroke Program.
"To earn the Gold Plus Award, a hospital must demonstrate at 85 percent compliance in each of the seven "Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Program" measures for at least 24 consecutive months," said Carla English of the American Heart Association. English presented the award during a Wednesday morning news conference at SAMC.
"This tremendous accomplishment is the result of hard work and dedication by our stroke team," said Ronald S. Owen, SAMC's Chief Executive Officer. "Our stroke team is comprised of highly skilled physicians, nurses and clinical team members who provide our patients with the best quality stroke care available."
Owen said this award is another example of SAMC's commitment to deliver the very best stroke care in the region. For patients that means a coordinated and quicker response time, which in turn means less damage caused by a stroke.
"Time is brain; one minute of insufficient blood supply to the brain can kill 2 million nerve cells," said Dr. Stephen L. Fernandez,
chairman and medical director for Radiology at SAMC and chairman of the Medical Center stroke care program "When experiencing a brain attack (stroke) our goal is to achieve the best outcome possible by coordinating treatment in a timely manner."
A majority of the stroke patients come through SAMC's Emergency Department where early recognition of stroke symptoms begins out in the field with area first responders.
"Once admitted to the Medical Center, a multidisciplinary team is alerted and responds to the Emergency Room," said Dr. Alexander Benz, board certified Emergency Medicine physician at SAMC. "Many of the treatments to limit debilitating damage must be administered in a timely manner."
In addition to treatment already in place, by late spring emergency room physicians will be able to consult with local neurologist via telecommunications. The TeleNeurology system will allow SAMC's neurologists to diagnosis a stroke patient within the critical initial three hour window to administer Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) to dissolve blood clots to reverse some of the damage done by the stroke. The neurologist will respond within 15 minutes of receiving the tele message.
This eliminates the need for the neurologist to be in the hospital to diagnose the stroke victim, thus saving valuable time.
The Southeast Alabama Medical Center Foundation provided funding of more than $50,000 to purchase the TeleNeurology equipment and technology.