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Hospital partners with Duke to offer telestroke services
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This robot helps diagnose stroke patients.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Officials at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville on Friday announced a new partnership with the Duke TeleStroke Network to provide advanced technology telestroke services throughout the region.

Area residents now have around-the-clock access to Duke Medicine’s neurologists/stroke experts via real-time, telemedicine based technology.

According to the American Stroke Association, nearly 90 percent of strokes occurring in the U.S. are ischemic in nature — caused by an obstruction (blood clot) in a vessel supplying blood to the brain. A drug known as tPA (tissue pasminogen activator) has been proven to effectively treat ischemic strokes by dissolving the blood clot and restoring blood flow to the brain.

Patients who may be candidates for tPA must receive the drug within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, which makes its important that a person showing signs and symptoms of a stroke be taken to the nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

With Memorial Hospital’s new telestroke program, neurology specialists at Duke will use advanced technology videoconferencing to communicate with Memorial Hospital’s emergency room team, examine the patient, review imaging reports, confirm a diagnosis and then recommend treatment just as if they were at the bedside.

The new technology also includes the use of a 5-foot life-sized robot which will help provide a thorough examination and best treatment plan for the patient, possibly including tPA.

“For someone having a stroke, minutes can make the difference between life and death,” said Skip Philips, chief executive officer at Memorial Hospital. “We are very proud of the stroke program we have at Memorial and look forward to having the

expertise of a world class leader like Duke made available to our patients and our


“Research has shown that quick access to a neurologist or stroke expert greatly reduces death and the long-term disabling effects of a stroke,” said Dr. Henry Bridges, chief medical officer at Memorial Hospital. “Our new telestroke program is making it possible for us to deliver care in ways never before imagined, giving our patients the care they need close to home.”

The community is invited to attend a reception Wednesday celebrating the arrival of the robot and the Duke Telestroke Network to the region. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the main lobby of the hospital.

For more information contact Tory Shepherd, director of cardiopulmonary and neurophysiology services, at 666-7295 or


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