St. Elizabeth's recognized for stroke care

News-DemocratJune 19, 2014 

St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville was designated an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital -- one of just 21 in the state and the only one in the metro-east.

The Illinois' Stroke Law, passed in 2009 and updated in January, identifies hospitals capable of providing emergent stroke care and directs emergency medical services to transport possible acute patients to theses hospitals.

At St. Elizabeth's, if a potential stroke patient arrives, staff members alert an on-call experts for immediate video-conference consultations. Then, neurologists from UCLA, Yale, the Colorado Neurological Institute and other facilities have the ability to interact face-to-face with the patient, family members and emergency room staff in order to make and an immediate diagnosis and begin advanced stroke treatment and interventions.

The advanced technology allows residents from the metro-east, to remain close to home, saving valuable time, when it matters most, according to St. Elizabeth's.

"Receiving this high-level designation once again reaffirms our commitment to offering region leading, high-quality stroke care for all residents of the Metro East," said Dr. Shelly Harkins, chief medical officer at St. Elizabeth's.

Medical professionals say that surviving strokes can be a matter of time, so if you think someone may be suffering a stroke act quickly and use the following acronym to identify potential symptoms:

* Face -- look for an uneven smile or drooping eye;

* Arm -- check if one arm is weak;

* Speech -- listen for slurred speech or inability to speak; and

* Time -- call 911 immediately.

Contact reporter Maria Hasenstab at mhasenstab@bnd.com or 618-239-2460.

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