Telestroke support improves patient outcome at CCH

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By Shawna O'Neill
Telestroke support improves patient outcome at CCH
Sherry and Phillip McMillan. Photo provided by CCH.

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) sees patient success stories across different departments on a daily basis, including those involved with the Telestroke Department.

Phillip McMillan, 67, of Berwick is feeling grateful after suffering a stroke that did not result in any physical or cognitive repercussions.

“I didn’t think I was having a stroke until I realized my right side went numb and I felt weak,” said McMillan in a press release.

After a family member called 9-1-1 and McMillan was rushed to the Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH), his condition worsened, and he was transferred to CCH, which is one of three designated Telestroke sites in the area’s Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

“We’ve come such a long way in the treatment of stroke, and cases like these are great to hear about,” said Heather Arthur, Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer.

In cases such as McMillan’s, an ‘Acute Stroke’ signal will be paged overhead, which triggers staff in the CT department to promptly see the patient. Paramedics will bring the patient directly to the CT scanner table in effort of saving time. The initial page will also prompt the laboratory technicians to attain blood from the patient as soon as possible.

“As an Emergency Department Nurse, we witness the detrimental physical and cognitive effects a stroke can have on a patient when not treated in a timely manner,” said Chase Horvath, a Nurse who was on duty the day McMillan arrived. “It brings us great satisfaction to deliver the appropriate timely treatment impacting the patient’s recovery and in fact, his quality of life.”

Once the patient’s CT images are uploaded, they are accessible for viewing from anywhere in the province with the Ontario Telehealth Network (OTN). Both an Emergency Department Physician and an OTN Neurologist will discuss a patient’s eligibility for clot reducing medication and Endovascular Therapy to remove the clot. In McMillan’s case, the Emergency Physician consulted with a Neurosurgeon at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus. McMillan received the clot reducing medication and was transferred to Ottawa for the emergency procedure. Removing a clot within six hours of the onset symptoms is proven to be the best time frame in which to act to reduce life-long affects.

Time is of critical importance when treating a stroke and the CCH reminds individuals of the FAST acronym to help recognize symptoms. Fast evaluates if a person’s face is drooping, if the individual can raise their arms, if their speech is slurred and it reinforces that time is critical and action needs to be taken promptly.


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