A friend thinks F.A.S.T.

Stroke victim benefits from new technology

When Hood River resident Martha Hoskins planned her lunch with Joan Chapman in early January, she had no idea that a friendship bond would be cemented, and that a robot would help save her life.

As the two friends were leaving the restaurant, Chapman noticed Hoskins was not speaking correctly; something was clearly wrong. Recognizing the need for help, Chapman immediately called 9-1-1.

Hoskins was transported to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and evaluated using the Providence Telestroke Network. This network allows stroke patients who arrive at Providence Hood River instant access to stroke neurologists in Portland, using robot technology.

Immediate access is imperative in the case of stroke. Every minute a stroke is left untreated, two million brain cells die.

“I had a stroke before, so I knew exactly what was happening,” said Hoskins. “I was very aware of everything that was going on. I knew what the providers were saying, I just couldn’t respond; it was like I had no voice.”

As soon as Hoskins arrived at Providence Hood River, emergency department staff engaged the Telestroke robot, allowing neurologists in Portland to use the robot to talk with the patient, examine her and confirm she was having a stroke. Within minutes they were able to prescribe a dose of the clot-busting drug tPA.

Following the Telestroke consultation and treatment, Martha was transferred to Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland.

“The care I received at Providence from the time I entered the emergency room and throughout treatment was the best. The staff at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital knew exactly what to do; they are all aces,” said Hoskins.

Telemedicine plays a significant role in treating stroke in smaller hospitals and rural locations. Because tPA was given quickly and the treatment was successful, Hoskins spent only a few days in the hospital recovering.

She now is back at home and able to function on her own without any major stroke-related problems, thanks to the quick thinking of Chapman and the advanced technology of the Telestroke network.

Hoskins now passionately educates about the signs of a stroke. “You can survive a stroke; you just need to know the signs, and call 9-1-1,” advised Hoskins.

An easy way to remember the signs of stroke is to think of the word FAST.

“F” stands for face — does it look uneven?

“A” is for arms — is one arm numb or drifting down?

“S” is for speech — is speech jumbled?

“T” stands for time — call 9-1-1 immediately.

Providence Hood River is one of 18 hospitals connected to the Portland-based Providence Stroke Center via the Telestroke network.

Providence Stroke Center is a nationally certified Primary Stroke Center. The Providence stroke team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventionists, radiologists, nurses and therapists.

The team works to quickly diagnose patients and use the most technically advanced methods to remove clots, repair broken arteries that cause strokes, and restore blood flow to the brain.

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