Act F-A-S-T When Stroke Strikes

In June 2010, Bon Secours Maryview and Bon Secours Health System at Harbour View were certified as Primary Stroke Centers by the Joint Commission. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the United States- but with the right treatment, side-effects of stroke can be lessened.

The sooner a stroke is identified, the better the outcome for the patient. Half of patients whose stroke is identified within three hours have little to no long term physical effects. The acronym FAST, which stands for Face, Arms, Speech, and Time, can help identify when someone has had a stroke. If someone’s face droops on one side or they cannot hold their arms evenly, the person may be having a stroke. They may also have slurred speech. As soon as someone has one of these symptoms, emergency services should be contacted.

“Being certified as a Stroke Center means we’re prepared to respond in a timely manner,” said Michael Gebel, MD, neurologist and medical director for the Neuroscience Centers at Bon Secours Maryview and Bon Secours Harbour View. “We partner with emergency services to ensure treatment starts as soon as possible.”

The certification also means that Bon Secours Maryview and Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View met strict national guidelines for treating stroke patients. “Stroke alerts” in the emergency room help staff to provide the fastest response time possible.

“We’re proud to be certified, but ultimately we want to focus on prevention,” said Dr. Gebel. “We want people to know they don’t have to have a stroke. Controlling risk factors like high blood pressure and smoking makes a difference.”

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