Know the signs; save lives

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Hospitals should be aggressively attacking stroke concerns. The directive came four years ago by the state legislature. It continues with education.

"We're confused about the signs of stroke and it's similar to a heart attack, but it's in the brain," explained Kinnie Parker, health educator at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. "So instead of a clog in the heart blood vessels, it's a clog in the brain."

Texans are put on the "FAST" track in learning stroke warning signs. Changes in the person's face, action, and speech indicate when it's time to go to the emergency room.

"If you take 100 stroke patients, 80% of them will not get to the hospital in time for us to even offer them a potential therapy that's out there that may reverse their stroke," said Scott Christopher, Memorial's cardiovascular coordinator.

Texas Regional Advisory Councils, which are found across East Texas, strive to have their ER's designated as stroke centers.

"[We want that] so that the stroke patients do get timely care and appropriate care that will ultimately improve stroke patient outcomes," explained Christopher.

There are hospitals meeting stroke center guidelines set by independent medical organizations, but no hospital has state certification. It's not their fault. In four years the state designation process hasn't been developed for stroke centers. The state government got off the fast track of setting some of its own mandates.

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