Strokes are all too common; in fact, they are the third leading cause of death among Americans. Strokes are related to heart disease, which affects a disproportionate number of people in our community. So it’s no surprise that last year our hospital treated almost 1,000 people for strokes.
Because this is such an important medical problem in our community, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) has made stroke care a high priority. Our ongoing efforts led to the American Heart Association (AHA) awarding our stroke program their Gold Plus Achievement Award and naming us to the Target: Stroke Honor Roll. This is the third year that we have received these honors, which are part of the AHA’s Get With the Guidelines–Stroke program.
The Get with the Guidelines–Stroke program places a high priority on shortening the time to treatment. “We know that every 15 minutes that we treat faster, 5 percent fewer patients die from their strokes,” says Mary Jobson-Oliver, MSMHC stroke program coordinator. Furthermore, nearly two million brain cells die every minute during an acute stroke.
Effective care requires speedy and careful coordination among many departments throughout the hospital. Physicians, nurses and associates from the emergency department, radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, critical care, physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy are among the departments that have a key role in extending patients’ lives while preserving function.
“It’s a huge team effort to make this happen for our patients and our community,” says Deborah Oncale-Guthrie, who served as interim stroke coordinator in 2015 and is currently the hospital’s core measures coordinator. "Everyone has made a sustained, concerted effort to provide quality stroke care."
Learn more about our Stroke Center.