Blog | Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stroke '09: Local color

These folks gave a talk to media and bystanders, complete with ambulance and stretcher props, about San Diego's emergency stroke response system. To hear them tell it, a call to 9-1-1 sets into motion a highly choreographed series of events-- a neurologist being paged, a radiologist securing a machine for imaging, a nurse clearing a bed for possible admission, so that everyone is ready to go when the patient arrives. Of course, one would like to think this happens everywhere, but there are many areas of the country which don't have well-oiled stroke plans.

I was a little disappointed that we didn't get a tour of the ambulance-- or better yet, a quick spin through town-- but left feeling that, if I had to have a stroke somewhere, San Diego seems like a good place to do it. (Admittedly, I say this having no real sense of how this city stacks up vs. other places in overall stroke care. And having no real desire to have a stroke, ever.) California in general seems committed to a tidy stroke response, according to Dr. James Dunford, the city's emergency medical director: There's a statewide task force underway to help all of the state's communities develop organized stroke response plans, he said.

(Pictured left to right: Dr. Patrick Lyden, medical director of UCSD Stroke Center; Dr. James Dunford, emergency medical director for the city of San Diego and an emergency department doctor at UCSD; and Vicky Powell, a stroke survivor who benefitted from UCSD's emergency response system.)