Hunterdon Healthcare’s Emergency Department was designated a Primary Stroke Center by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services in 2008. This designation is based on Hunterdon’s comprehensive capabilities to rapidly identify, evaluate and treat stroke patients, by providing (among others) clot-busting medications, such as tPA, based on national recommendations.
Because immediate care is critical to a stroke patient’s survival and recovery, Hunterdon follows Neurological Society guidelines and is committed to having a stroke team available within 15 minutes following the diagnosis of a potential acute stroke. Hunterdon’s door to CT scan time is 25 minutes, making the entire diagnostic process from door to CT interpretation in 45 minutes or less. Board-certified neurologists and neurosurgeons are on call at all times.
Hunterdon Healthcare also uses the TeleNeurology Robot in the Emergency Department when a stroke is suspected. At first, it appears similar to beginning a conversation via Skype, but it is far more superior. The robot can be wheeled into the patient’s room and has a monitor where the neurologist appears on a screen and can assess the patient. The neurologist is able to remotely turn the robot’s head to better view the patient and zoom in to see their pupils or other vital signs. He also has the ability to talk to the patient and staff via the robot. The robot allows the physician to conduct the same kind of neurologic exam as if he were physically in the same room as the patient. During the consultation, the emergency physician relays the physical findings and shares images so both specialists can discuss the best treatment plan for the patient. Using the robot allows our emergency department physicians to have our on-call neurologist remote into the room from anywhere to help evaluate the patient. The sooner treatment is started, the better.
As a designated Primary Stroke Center by the New Jersey Department of Health, Hunterdon Medical Center meets the standards and performance requirements in caring for stroke patients and offering state-of-the-art treatments.
Because stroke is considered among the most serious medical emergencies, prompt and aggressive emergency treatment can save lives and minimize brain injury. One of the most important treatments for stroke, a drug called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), which dissolves clots, can only be injected within three hours of the onset of symptoms.
State-of-the-art neuroimaging services, including computerized tomography (or CT) brain scans and laboratory services, are available 24/7.
Signs of Stroke
Stroke is considered a medical emergency. If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T.* and do this simple test. Call 9-1-1 immediately:
- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can he/she repeat the sentence correctly?
- Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 9-1-1 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.
- 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.
Please note that not all the warning signs occur in every stroke. Do not ignore signs of a stroke, even if they go away. Check the time. When did the first warning sign or symptom start? You’ll be asked this important question later.
If you are with someone who may be having stroke symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Expect the person to protest; denial is common. Don’t take “no” for an answer. Insist on taking prompt action.
Rehabilitation and Home Health Care
From acute care in the Emergency Department through rehabilitation and home health services, Hunterdon Healthcare has developed a sophisticated protocol to follow stroke patients through recovery, every step of the way. Patients at Hunterdon have access to rehabilitative treatment to help restore physical capabilities, as well as Visiting Health and Supportive Services to ease the return home.
Additional information about stroke is available by visiting the American Stroke Association’s website at www.strokeassociation.org.
If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1.
*National Stroke Association
Kristen Rizzo, MDUrgent Care
Robert S. Chang, MDEmergency Medicine
Raafat S. Barsoom, MDEmergency Medicine
Kathryn L. Grimes, MDEmergency Medicine
Mona Jaggi, MDEmergency Medicine
Norma J. Johnson-Villanueva, MDEmergency Medicine
David S. Lambert, MDEmergency Medicine
Nimish Mehta, MDEmergency Medicine
Michael A. Prendergast, MDEmergency Medicine
Edward D. Spector, MDEmergency Medicine
Young D. Yoon, MDEmergency Medicine
James Contiliano, PA-CPhysician Assistant
Thomas Dotro, PA-CPhysician Assistant
Michael P. Fama, PA-CPhysician Assistant
Andrew M. Kusnirik, PA-CPhysician Assistant
Heather E. Shafai, PA-CPhysician Assistant
Edwin K. Kang, PA-CPhysician Assistant
Erin M. Fallon, PA-CPhysician Assistant
Tracey A. Keegan, FNP-BCFamily Nurse Practitioner
Kirsten S. Veneziale, FNPFamily Nurse Practitioner
Magdalena Dumanski, FNP-CFamily Nurse Practitioner
Additional Staff & Specialists
Dana DeAngelis, BSN, RN, SCRN, Stroke Coordinator
Julie Kotch, MSN, MHA, RN, Director, Emergency Department
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