Fulton County Hospital recognized by ADH with stroke designation

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Pictured from left to right: James Bledsoe, MD, FACS, ADH EMS/Trauma Medical Director; Fulton County Hospital RNs Erika Wakeman and Sarah Williams; and Appathurai Balamurugan, MD, DRPH, MPH, FAAFP, ADH State Chronic Disease Director.

Fulton County Hospital has been recognized by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) as an Arkansas Stroke Ready Hospital (ArSRH).

“With stroke, every second counts. Each hour of delay in stroke treatment ages the brain close to four years and increases the chances of permanent disability,” said Appathurai Balamurugan, MD, DrPH, State Chronic Disease Director and Medical Director for the ADH Chronic Disease Branch. “The ArSRH designation ensures that stroke patients make it to the closest appropriate hospital when they dial 911.”

Stroke continues to take a significant toll on our state. Most recent data shows Arkansas has the fifth highest stroke death rate in the country, with over 45 deaths per 100,000 people every year.

Stroke is a leading cause of serious disability. Although life-saving treatment is available to reverse the effects of the most common type of stroke, few patients receive medical care in time.

Hospitals recognized with the ArSRH designation partner with local EMS to improve outcomes by helping ensure stroke patients are rapidly transported to the most appropriate hospital. EMS providers screen patients with standardized protocols to effectively recognize stroke and make sure patients receive the right kind of care.

Arkansas’ stroke system of care consists of Joint Commission certified Primary Stroke Centers and ADH designated ArSRHs. Hospitals designated as ArSRHs are capable of providing time-critical care to the stroke patient, including initial emergency evaluation, real-time stroke assessment and treatment through telemedicine.

Remembering the B.E.F.A.S.T. acronym is a way to recognize stroke and what to do when it is suspected:

B - Balance: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?

E - Eyes: Is there a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?

F- Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?

A- Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb?

S - Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to

understand?

T- Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms. even if the symptoms go away, call9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

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