Victims of an ischemic stroke can face unfavorable odds once blood flow to the brain is restricted. The faster an individual receives care, the better their chance of survival as well as regaining their previous quality of life. There’s now hope for such patients in the form of a mobile stroke treatment unit (MSTU).
To date, a handful of communities have rolled out these treatment centers on wheels. Outfitted with a CT scanner, portable laboratory equipment and telemedicine capabilities, these vehicles have the tools necessary for an emergency medical team to perform on-the-spot brain imaging, administer a NIH Stroke Scale test with a neurologist on live video feed as well as start blood-clot-busting medicines as quickly as possible.
Similar to an ambulance, these mobile emergency centers haul everything needed to diagnose and treat a stroke before the patient arrives at the hospital. This brain-saving mobile technology is in limited use though across the U.S.—due in part to their $1 million price tag.
Following in line with the “time-is-tissue” rule in treating acute stroke, it’s important that blood flow through vessels is restored within the first hours of symptom appearance. In a past blog post, I discussed how the time factor has recently been extended by some neurological experts, but it still remains as a matter of hours—making every minute count.
A recent study published by Medscape Medical News indicates that use of a mobile stroke unit cuts 38.5 minutes off the typical time between a stroke attack and delivery of thrombolysis medications—a significant advancement considering the brain loses two million brain cells per minute during a stroke.
The correct initial diagnosis and quick treatment by medical professionals are critical to the long term health of an ischemic stroke victim—as I described in a blog about an FDA-approved medication that many doctors are still reluctant to utilize, even when the patient’s future well being hangs in the balance.
Indeed, a severe stroke can disable an individual for life, cutting off their ability to support families or enjoy everyday life activities. Death is a common outcome of improperly handled strokes. If you or a family member has been the victim of a misdiagnosis or a failure-to-treat action, call us. Our stroke experts in medical malpractice will be there to help your family find justice.
While there is certainly a steep initial cost for these state-of-the-art vehicles, they will ultimately save time, money—and most importantly—damage to patients who could face a life of long-term disabilities without such prompt care.
Both an Emory School of Law graduate and MBA graduate of Goizueta Business School at Emory, Chris Nace focuses his practice on areas of medical malpractice, drug and product liability, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination and other negligence and personal injury matters.