Last Tuesday, NewYork-Presbyterian, along with Weill Cornell Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Fire Department, unveiled their expanded Mobile Stroke Treatment Units that cover both Queens and Brooklyn.
The treatment unit is a mobile emergency vehicle that provides immediate care to patients who are having a stroke. It allows neurologists from NYP’s hospitals to be consulted remotely at a moment’s notice, hospital officials said.
“Response time is a critical factor in stroke recovery,” said Dr. Matthew Fink, neurologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, who oversees the MSTU program. “We are bringing the emergency room directly to a patient suffering from a stroke. This is a game changer in advanced stroke care.”
According to the hospital, about 795,000 people nationwide suffer from a blockage in an artery of the brain each year. The deprivation of blood flow and oxygen can, even in mere minutes, lead to a disability or even death.
That’s why last month, the FDNY began deploying a mobile treatment unit in the Flushing community near NYP Queens. Later this month, another unit will be dispatched to the community surrounding NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn.
The first mobile stroke treatment unit was launched in October 2016 to serve the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. In its first year, the vehicle was deployed 454 times, transporting 88 patients.
Each unit will be staffed by a specialized team of two paramedics, a computer tomography technologist and a registered nurse. A neurologist can then be consulted by video-conference for recommendations and assessment.
The vehicle will also have equipment and medications specifically for diagnosing and treating strokes, including a portable CT scanner that can image a patient’s brain instantly to see if it is being deprived of blood.
The scan is then transmitted to the hospital for evaluation.
According to hospital leaders, since the unit’s launch, doctors have been able to treat stroke victims about 40 minutes faster than a standard ambulance.
The funding for the units was donated by the W.P. Carey Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful to our donors for their support in helping us provide life-saving stroke treatment,” said Dr. Steven Corwin, president and CEO of NYP, “with significantly reduced treatment times to the communities of Queens and Brooklyn.”