St. Francis Medical Center raises the bar in stroke care

The Lynwood medical facility has added bi-plane technology that will assist in saving lives of stroke patients

(LYNWOOD, CA) St. Francis Medical Center, a member of Prime Healthcare, recently announced its higher-level stroke care capabilities. This includes its new bi-plane suite supporting the hospital’s advancement to becoming a Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center. With the new bi-plane system, St. Francis is able to perform neurointerventional procedures that can save the lives of stroke patients as well as prevent the impairments that can result from a stroke.

A stroke occurs when an artery to the brain either becomes blocked or bursts, preventing the brain from receiving a constant supply of blood. Every minute the brain lacks proper blood circulation, 2 million brain cells die. This can result in speech and language problems, reading and reasoning impairment, loss of depth perception and direction, difficulties with seeing, sleeping, moving, memory and a range of other emotional and physical changes.

St. Francis was certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center in 2014. It is part of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services stroke center system, which includes 51 hospitals. St. Francis has been dedicated to advancing its stroke care capabilities, and as it completes the process of becoming a Certified Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center, St. Francis puts within the reach of area residents more immediate access to higher-level stroke treatment.

Dora Martinez (left), daughter of recovered stroke patient Basilisa Aldana (center), shares her mother’s story and the importance of having access to advanced stroke treatments. St. Francis CEO Clay Farell (right) thanked the family for bringing stroke awareness to the community.
Dora Martinez (left), daughter of recovered stroke patient Basilisa Aldana (center), shares her mother’s story and the importance of having access to advanced stroke treatments. St. Francis CEO Clay Farell (right) thanked the family for bringing stroke awareness to the community.

St. Francis CEO Clay Farell said, “The next closest hospitals to offer higher-level treatment are from 8 miles to more than 21 miles away.  At a minimum, this can delay care for 20 to 40 minutes or more. By becoming a thrombectomy-capable stroke center, we fill a critical gap in services.”

St. Francis’ stroke program is now able to provide a higher standard of clinical services and enhanced treatment capabilities to provide a framework for improved outcomes for stroke patients. Key among the hospital’s advancements is the acquisition of a new GE Innova IGS 630 Bi-Plane cardiovascular and interventional imaging system. With this technology, hospital neurointerventionalists are able to perform specialized procedures called thrombectomies – the removal of blood clots from an artery or vein – using minimally invasive techniques.

The advantage is that patients experiencing an ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot in a blood vessel typically in the brain, can be treated through endovascular therapies. In short, removal of the clot can be performed using catheters threaded through arteries rather than accessing the blockage through the patient’s skull.

“With the bi-plane we are able to get two very detailed views. It provides a huge advance in the types of treatments we’re able to offer our patients,” said St. Francis neurointerventionalist Pradeep Selvan, MD. “And now we can deliver it in the highest standard.”

Concurrent with the acquisition of the bi-plane system, St. Francis Medical Center has integrated expanded criteria established by The Joint Commission for Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Centers. This encompasses specific standards for program management, resources, data and measurements, and the spectrum of care from the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

According to St. Francis Stroke Program Manager Renee Mazeroll, RN, “Achieving these standards is a collaborative effort. It involves the synchronization of an entire Stroke Team comprising physicians, nurses, technologists, and support staff across the hospital, including the Emergency Department, Neuro Interventional Lab, Catheterization Lab, Intensive Care Unit, Stroke Telemetry Unit, Rehabilitation, Stroke Program coordinators, hospital neurologists and neurointerventionalists, and hospital leadership. In addition, it requires coordination with first responders who provide pre-hospital care and transport for stroke patients.”

The result of the hospital’s efforts are success stories such as the one shared by Dora Martinez at the hospital’s Stroke Center Bi-plane Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony on June 8. Dora’s mother Basilisa Aldana suffered a stroke this past April. Upon finding Aldana collapsed in the kitchen, the family rushed her to the St. Francis Stroke Center.

Martinez said, “My mother is alive today because of the care she received at St. Francis. She recovered and experienced no deficiencies.” Chuckling she added, “In fact, she is more talkative today than before.”

Extending their support for St. Francis Medical Center’s Stroke Center achievements are elected officials whose constituents are the direct beneficiaries of the hospital’s advanced capabilities. This includes Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (D-44th District), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-62nd District), Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-33rd District), Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn (4th District), and Compton Mayor Emma Sharif, who were represented at the hospital’s Ribbon-Cutting event and presented the hospital with certificates of recognition.

The hospital was also pleased to have on hand L.A. County Fire Department Acting Assistant Chief, Division VI, Brad Evans, as well as representatives from the USC Memory and Aging Center, among other supporters.

Acknowledging the commitment of the stroke team and its collaborative partners, Farell said, “St. Francis Medical Center has taken an important next step in ensuring access to high-level, immediate stroke care for the community. Together we are saving lives and preserving quality of life for patients and families.”

Top Photo Caption:

Federal, state, county, and local elected officials extended their support for St. Francis’s higher-level stroke care capability, which fills a gap in services in Southeast Los Angeles. Representatives from their offices were on hand to commemorate the hospital’s milestone. Courtesy photo 

Source: St. Francis Medical Center 

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