Region's only Mobile Stroke Unit could be expanding into Monroe County

March 06, 2019 05:32 PM

ROCHESTER, NY (WHEC) – The region's only Mobile Stroke Unit could be expanding into Monroe County. 

UR Medicine rolled out upstate and central New York's first Mobile Stroke Unit last October. Since that time, the team has responded to stroke-related calls to provide time-blasting treatment.


"Time is critical for stroke victims. With every minute that passes, precious brain cells are lost. Quick treatment can preserve brain cells, save lives and improve recovery," URMC states on its website.

A stroke can age your brain by 36 years, losing nearly two million brain cells per minute. 

Faster treatment means faster recovery. 

"It can be the difference between walking or not walking, the difference between going back to a regular life or spending life in a nursing home," explained Tarun Bhalla, MD, PhD.

He is the director of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Services at the University of Rochester Medical Center, which is why his team believes the Mobile Stroke Unit is so valuable.

Essentially a trauma-bay on wheels, it allows Jason Burgett, RN, and his team to quickly evaluate a patient right in their driveway and treat them on the way to the hospital.

The unit is outfitted with a CT scan along with medicine not available on a regular ambulance.

 "As we do our scan, we send information back to the hospital, prepare medication, and start therapy before we even leave the scene," explained Burgett, the lead RN on the unit.

It also has telemedical equipment which allows his team to video conference with a neurologist at the hospital.

If you believe you are suffering a stroke, doctors urge you to call 911.

Those signs can be described using the acronym F-A-S-T.

F: facial weakness
A: arm weakness
S: speech difficulty, or slurred speech
T: time is vital, call 911

At this time, the Mobile Stroke Unit is serving the City of Rochester. However, it plans on expanding into Monroe County soon and hopes to continue that expansion into neighboring communities.


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