|SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center has been awarded designation as a Primary Stroke Service provider by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and is among the first hospitals in Western Mass. to achieve that designation.
The designation was awarded recently after an on-site survey and evaluation, said Dr. James E. Fanale, chief operating officer at Mercy Medical Center.
Mercy Medical Center has demonstrated to the state that it has the medical expertise, diagnostic equipment and treatment protocols available around-the-clock to treat emergency stroke patients.
Mercy has a dedicated stroke team, including neurological specialists available at all times, as well as standardized stroke treatment protocols. Ambulances and emergency medical first responders are thus assured hospitals with this designation meet the state’s standards to treat emergency stroke patients, said Fanale.
Rapid detection and diagnosis is key toward treating and sometimes preventing the long-term damage caused by strokes. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of a stroke should call 911 and get medical treatment immediately. Keeping track of when the symptoms first appeared will help the stroke team determine the best course of treatment. Mercy is now providing free, public community education programs about stroke twice each year. The next session will be scheduled in the Spring.
The majority of strokes – 80 percent – are ischemic strokes, caused by a clot that squeezes or blocks off the blood supply to the brain. About 20 percent of strokes are caused by bleeding in the brain. Treatment for each type of stroke is different and the stroke team must determine the cause before treatment is begun. Clot-busting drugs can sometimes prevent the long-term damage caused by an ischemic stroke. These drugs are most effective when given within three hours of the initial stroke symptoms.