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Doctor’s Hospital of Manteca: Act F.A.S.T. and Save a Life

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April showers bring May flowers, but the fifth month of the year is also a time to recognize National Stroke Awareness Month, an annual event designed to raise awareness for stroke risk factors and stroke preventive measures. This national initiative strives to educate people on the symptoms so they can save a life by recognizing the signs of a stroke.

National Stroke Awareness Month is a timely reminder of the many ways organizations such as the National Stroke Association support stroke survivors through their lifelong journey of recovery. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year, statistics that Doctors Hospital of Manteca is determined to reduce.

For over 50 years, this prestigious community hospital has provided superb clinical care deeply rooted in their belief that their patients expect and deserve to be treated with dignity and attentiveness. Doctors Hospital has more than 500 employees, a medical staff of over 150 physicians; the hospital offers advanced medical care, treatment and state-of-the-art medical options within their 73-bed facility. Doctors Hospital of Manteca cares about the health and wellbeing of all residents in San Joaquin County and beyond.

Improving Stroke Recognition
Raising awareness and providing ongoing community education about stroke and heart-related diseases are efforts to which DHM has been committed for many years. Although men and women may differ to some degree with heart attack symptoms, both genders experience very similar symptoms with stroke. A stroke is caused by a blood clot or hemorrhage in a vessel in the brain. Deprived of oxygen and nutrients, brain cells begin to die. Nearby vessels try to take over, so saving the victim through prompt treatment can make a huge difference. Time is critical and research has shown that the first three to four hours offer the best opportunity make a difference in a patient’s outcome.

“The best way to determine if you are having a stroke is to remember the acronym FAST,” Dr. Simran Sethi, internist and clinical quality director at Doctors Hospital, noted. “The acronym stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, time is of the essence to seek emergency medical services or go to the hospital.”

Telemedicine Improves Outcomes
The hospital has worked tirelessly to foster better outcomes for stroke care with the implementation of their Teleneurology Program. Fast response time is critical when working with acute stroke cases; the Teleneurology Program allows their doctors to have 24/7 access to some of the nation’s finest neurologists via two-way videoconferencing. DHM’s doctors and nurses work alongside the doctors at UCSF Neurology Department to conduct the examination and consult on treatment; thanks to this high-tech option, diagnosis and treatment plans happen quicker. This innovative telemedicine is most effective when applied where physician resources are scarce and patient care is time sensitive.

Joint Commission Certification as Primary Stroke Center
The determination to be a leader in stroke care has resulted in Doctors Hospital being awarded Advanced Certification as a Primary Stroke Center, earning The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark in 2016. To earn this certification, Doctors Hospital underwent a rigorous on-site review by the Joint Commission in October 2016. Joint Commission experts evaluated the hospital’s compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements, including program management, the delivery of clinical care and performance improvement.

“Physicians, nurses and other staff at Doctors Hospital of Manteca are proud to receive Advanced Certification as a Primary Stroke Center from the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association,” said Ikenna Mmeje, CEO of Doctors Hospital of Manteca. “This certification is another affirmation of the culture of excellence we are building at our hospital and our dedication to providing high-quality, advanced stroke care for our patients.”

Many risk factors for stroke can be controlled, including high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, uncontrolled diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity. Preventing or controlling heart disease and stroke means includes making long-term lifestyle changes, being aware of potential symptoms and risks and taking action when a medical episode arises. By adhering to a very specific set of treatment guidelines, Doctors Hospital of Manteca has clearly made it a priority to deliver high-quality care to all patients affected by stroke.

Know the Signs
The American Stroke Association offers F.A.S.T. as a way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke. If you spot these signs, call 911. The sooner a stroke victim gets to the hospital, the sooner treatment can begin and that can make a remarkable difference in recovery.

  Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

  Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms and watch if one arm drifts downward.

  Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is she unable to speak or hard to understand? Can he correctly repeat a simple sentence?

  Time to call 911: Even if symptoms go away, call 911 and get to hospital immediately.

To learn more about Doctors Hospital of Manteca, visit doctorsmanteca.com.