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Dignity Health Expands Stroke Care in North State


When it comes to a stroke, every second counts. And with the expansion of Telemedicine technology for stroke, otherwise known as Telestroke, St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff and Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta join Mercy Medical Center Redding’s Primary Stroke Center in offering immediate, coordinated stroke care for thousands of residents in the north state region.

“Telestroke brings highly specialized care into smaller communities,” said Doug Winter, St. Elizabeth Community Hospital Emergency Department Manager. “It’s a privilege to offer this level of stroke care closer to home... when our patients need it most.”

Using robotic technology, Telestroke connects patients experiencing stroke-like symptoms to an on-call stroke specialist at the Sacramento-based Dignity Health Neurological Institute. The Telestroke equipment is wheeled into the treatment room where the stroke specialist zooms in on the patient through the camera, conducts an assessment and exam, and talks with the patient, ER physician, and family members. After reviewing the patient’s history and imaging studies, the stroke specialist recommends a treatment plan.

“Being able to rapidly assess stroke patients is critical, because ‘time is brain,’” said Lisa Bennett, Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta Emergency Services Director. “It’s amazing what Telestroke means for both the patient and their family. It’s like the neurologist is right there in the room.”

In addition to the recent Board Certification of two Neurocritical Care Intensivists at Mercy Redding’s Primary Stroke Center, emergency nurses at all three Dignity Health North State hospitals are now certified to administer tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). tPA is a powerful clot-dissolving drug that, when administered following a certain type of stroke, can counteract or significantly reduce the devastating effects. However, it’s important that people seek timely care following a stroke, because patients can only benefit from tPA during a small window of time.

“Through a unified response, our ER physicians and specially trained nurses use Telestroke technology to give patients time-critical treatment with the best possible outcome,” said Deb Wedick, Mercy Medical Center Redding Stroke/North State Telemedicine Coordinator.

During a stroke, it takes only one second for 32,000 brain cells to die and minutes before a person is permanently disabled. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, the number one cause of adult disability, and something that can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. Stroke is an emergency that is treatable, especially if you get to an ER quickly. It’s important to know the warning signs of stroke and act F.A.S.T:

F – facial droop; uneven smile A – arm numbness and/or weakness S – slurred speech and difficulty speaking T – timing is critical; call 911 immediately 

Read more about Telestroke services and Mercy Medical Center Redding’s Stroke Center.

About Dignity Health North State

Mercy Medical Center Redding, St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff, and Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta are Dignity Health hospitals sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of Auburn. The hospitals are passionate about patient care, committed to community outreach, advocates for the underserved, and dedicated to delivering quality, affordable health services to those in need. All three hospitals have been honored with numerous awards. Mercy Medical Center Redding has received National Research Corporation’s Consumer Choice Award for seven consecutive ears and the Healthgrades' Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical ExcellenceTM for three consecutive years. St. Elizabeth Community Hospital has been named a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospital in the Nation for seven consecutive years – an honor no other California hospital of its size has achieved. Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta has been recognized as a Top 100 Critical Access hospital in the Nation by the National Rural Health Association. The hospitals also offer a broad array of outpatient services and the senior services of the Golden Umbrella Adult Day Health Care and Shasta Senior Nutrition Program. To learn more, call 888.628.1948 or find us on Facebook at Dignity Health North State. 

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