Patient Story

The Time Gap is Critical in Stroke Care

By Ione Villegas, Sacred Heart Marketing, Sacred Heart Pensacola, Comprehensive Stroke Center July 16, 2018

Do you know where the closest Comprehensive Stroke Center is to you? Remember, for stroke care, you need to act F. A. S. T.

Know the signs and symptoms of stroke.

Minimizing brain injury from a stroke including transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or mini-strokes, is all about the timing of treatment. A coordinated effort by an experienced stroke care team can make all the difference.

Mark Bickel winters in the Florida Panhandle, but also lives in Michigan. He is one of the Stroke Center’s many success stories. While in Destin, FL, Mark started experiencing double vision. “At first, I thought my double vision was caused by picking up something from the floor too quickly,” he said. “But after the symptoms didn’t go away, I knew I was experiencing a neurological event and called 911.

Bickel was rushed to Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, near Destin, Florida for stroke-like symptoms. Emergency medicine physician Nancy Churosh, MD, confirmed that Mark had suffered a stroke. She immediately administered a tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) (a clot-busting drug that improves blood flow to the part of the brain with the blockage). After consulting with Terry Neill, MD, the region’s only board-certified critical care neurologist, Mark was transferred to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola for comprehensive stroke care.

Dr. Neill and the stroke team provide around-the-clock neurological expertise to man hospitals in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Whether by phone consultation or telemedicine services, the Sacred Heart stroke team is available to provide immediate assistance for stroke patients.

The time gap between when a stroke occurs and when treatment begins is critical. “It requires the patient to recognize stroke symptoms, call 911 immediately, and get to a hospital that can administer t-PA. If any those steps are delayed, it can greatly compromise outcomes,” said Dr. Neill, Medical Director of the Stroke Center.

This Stroke Center at Sacred Heart Hospital is designated by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This designation is reserved for Stroke Centers with the highest level of capabilities and clinical expertise. “Our multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons, doctors, nurses and technologists ensures that patients receive the most advanced stroke and neurological care possible,” adds Dr. Neill.

Bickel said he and his wife are very grateful for the coordinated care he received at Emerald Coast and Sacred Heart Pensacola. Shortly after his stroke, he was back in the swing of things on the golf course. “I had a 100 percent recovery after my stroke, Bickel said. The excellent nursing care I received at both hospitals surely aided in my quick recovery. It is reassuring to know that the best care in the world is just down the street from our winter home.

For more information about the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Sacred Heart Pensacola, call 850-416-4842.