For Cathy, a stroke patient of Dr. Mark Bain, a Cleveland Clinic neurosurgeon, the hospital’s mobile stroke treatment unit (MSTU) helped her overcome barriers of location and resources by using telemedicine to communicate with doctors remotely.
“We typically need a CAT scan to figure out what kind of stroke somebody is having,” says Bain. “One of the things that mobile stroke helps us do is to get that CAT scan right at the patient’s door, right at their house. What that allows us to do is to initiate therapy immediately.”
Specialists were able to perform that CAT scan on Cathy and get her to the right hospital in a quick fashion.
The harsh reality
That’s not always the case. It isn’t uncommon for patients to get taken to a hospital that can’t perform a CAT scan, and then to a hospital that doesn’t have the right staff on hand to treat stroke, before finally landing somewhere with the proper equipment and expertise.
For Cathy, the “stars were aligned,” according to Bain. After she got her CAT scan remotely, she was taken to the Cleveland Clinic, where Bain and his team performed a surgery to treat the hemorrhagic stroke and then send her on her way to rehabilitation.
A miraculous recovery
Minutes after surgery when her breathing tube was removed, Cathy began moving her mouth and twitching her right leg. Within 24 hours, she could speak again.
“It was pretty amazing,” says Bain. “We hadn’t seen this type of recovery in people who’ve had this type of stroke.”
He attributed Cathy’s “miraculous” recovery to new standards of care in stroke treatment that allow for more minimally invasive surgical removal of blood clots, which helped her get into the right hands on time.