Oak Park trustees came to a unanimous agreement on March 5 to partner with Rush Medical Center and its latest mobile stroke unit. In the event of a stroke, a team of Rush physicians can be deployed in a custom-fitted ambulance at any location throughout the village.
A private grant will go towards funding diagnostics and treatment services provided by the unit. The ambulance used to transport physicians will feature telemedicine technology, brain imaging technology, and medicines commonly used for stroke patients.
At the scene, physicians will be able to instantly wire a CT scan image of the patient to Rush radiologists. Once the scan is analyzed, physicians will be able to understand if the patient had a stroke, the severity of the stroke, and determine next steps.
When there’s a stoppage of blood flow to the brain, the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching the brain comes to a halt. This is when a stroke is likely to occur. Common symptoms include face droop, difficulty moving limbs, and slurred speech — however, symptoms can differ greatly between patients.
Currently, stroke patients cannot be adequately treated until they’re admitted into an emergency services department. This process can be time consuming; and because battling a stroke is often a race against the clock, every second counts.
According to a study by the CDC, patients who arrive at the emergency room within three hours of their first symptoms often have less disability three months after a stroke than those who received delayed care. With Rush’s new mobile stroke unit, they’re aiming to drastically reduce the time in which someone experiences a stroke and receives proper medical assistance.
Rush officials say that detecting symptoms within the first hour and calling in the unit will yield optimal results for the patient.
As far as funding, Oak Park spokesman David Powers assured residents that the village will incur no costs for these new services.
Based on the success of the mobile stroke unit, Rush may be looking to implement more units in different communities.
A launch date for the mobile stroke unit is not set in stone, however, representatives say that these services will be available everyday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. when up-and-running.
For now, the agreement is in effect for one year, with a 15-day termination option available for both the village and Rush Medical Center.