Stroke Expertise Closer Than You Think

Florence Uses Telemedicine to Team with Stroke Experts at Sacred Heart
Collaborative Efforts are Life-saving and Brain-saving for 71-year-old


Being part of a network of care means PeaceHealth's team in Florence can provide you and your loved ones with exceptional every-day care. And thanks to the "telemedicine" program, specialty expertise for stroke and other conditions is also available right here.

The telemedicine program, which began in July 2010, uses a live interactive audio/visual connection 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In cases of stroke, this connection links the board-certified emergency physicians at Peace Harbor with neurologists and neurosurgeons at the Advanced Primary Stroke Center at Sacred Heart RiverBend in Springfield.

Recently, a 71-year-old arrived by ambulance at Peace Harbor Hospital, showing signs of a stroke. Strokes most often occur when a blood clot stops blood flow to the brain. The brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutrients they need. According to the National Stroke Association, the longer it takes to treat stroke, the higher the risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death.

The patient was evaluated by the triage nurse, Cynthia Russell, and immediately saw Dr Matt Danigelis, the ER provider, working that day.

Within five minutes of arrival, the patient was in the CT scanner, and within 35 minutes Dr. Danigelis was engaged in a "telestroke" consult with Dr. Elaine Skalabrin and other experts at Sacred Heart to determine together whether or not to administer a clot-dissolving medication called tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).

Within 45 minutes the patient received TPA to dissolve the clot causing the stroke and was later transported by ambulance to RiverBend, where he was doing well.

It’s the collaborative teamwork demonstrated by the fast-acting ER providers and stroke experts using the telemedicine technology who make PeaceHealth a special place of healing.