Code Stroke

Author: Jennifer O’Brien
Dec 2019
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The good news is great news: Stroke patients in Windsor-Essex are recovering at a higher rate than ever before, due to a region-wide Code Stroke protocol the hospital first implemented in 2015. The goal is to decrease “door-to-needle” time for stroke victims – so the stroke team can deliver clot-busting medication or remove the clot as soon as possible. That’s important because the sooner the clot is gone, the greater chance of survival and recovery.

But it means that if someone comes into an emergency department showing symptoms, the neurologist needs to be on site within 30 minutes to assess that patient and decide whether they can be a candidate for clot-busting “thrombylotics,” or to actually extract the clot. With one neurologist covering both campuses while running a patient clinic at Ouellette for people at-risk of strokes, days get busy fast.

Last year, Windsor Regional Hospital received 523 patients with stroke symptoms. Sometimes a stroke patient arrives at one emergency room while the neurologist is dealing with one at the other, say doctors.

“It really does consume what we do – we take a high degree of concern for those patients,” says chief neurologist Dr. Michael Winger. “To look after our stroke patients, it would be better if we had everybody under one roof – that’s a time factor. We want to make everything as efficient as possible, and moving to one hospital cannot come soon enough.”

“We need that more than anything.”