Spring 2018

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PATRONS | Spring 2018 15 S teve Baker is a creature of habit—bedtime at 10 p.m., morning alarm at 6 a.m. and in the shower 15 minutes later. at's why when Steve was awake and agitated at 5:15 on the morning of February 22, his wife, Namele, knew something wasn't right. When she saw the left side of his face looked weaker than the right, she immediately suspected he'd had a stroke. Fortunately Namele didn't waste any time. She called 911, told the dispatcher her husband was in their bedroom and opened the doors to the house so the paramedics could come in. She then went back to wait with Steve, who was busy insisting nothing was wrong with him. Healthy and active at 60, Steve found it inconceivable he could be having a stroke, and he was convinced he would be back home from the hospital in time to go to his job as assistant director of human resources at the Port of Los Angeles. But Steve didn't go to work. Instead he was rushed to Torrance Memorial Medical Center's emergency department, where he was diagnosed with a massive stroke of the type that can cause lifelong disabilities. To prevent further catastrophic damage, Steve needed a thrombectomy, a highly specialized catheter-based procedure to remove the blood clot. He underwent the procedure shortly after arriving at the hospital and is now expected to make a full recovery. e odds were in Steve's favor that day thanks to two factors—Namele got him help right away and he had access to highly specialized care. Proximity Matters When someone has a stroke, every second counts. e Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency has developed a Comprehensive Stroke System to ensure patients with acute stroke are taken to the closest appropriate facility. rough advanced training, adherence to the highest standards of patient care and the continued addition of highly trained neurosurgical experts, Torrance Memorial was recently recognized by the Los Angeles County EMS as a designated Comprehensive Stroke Center. is designation is further recognition of Torrance Memorial's ongoing commitment to the expansion of its stroke program, already one of the most comprehensive in the South Bay area. e designation means emergency services are directed to take acute-stroke patients directly to Torrance Memorial for care. Additionally, to guarantee round-the-clock stroke coverage for the South Bay, Torrance Memorial has partnered with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to develop a telestroke program that offers 24/7 access to stroke specialists. In place since 2016, the system uses teleconferencing technology to allow neurologists on call at Cedars-Sinai to diagnose patients at Torrance Memorial's emergency department. is 24-hour coverage is critical to saving lives and protecting quality of life. "When patients are having a stroke, minutes matter. e telestroke program is designed to get patients diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible, without having to be transported to another hospital," says Shlee Song, MD, medical director of Torrance Memorial's stroke program and associate director of the Cedars-Sinai department of neurology stroke program, who was on site when Steve arrived. In Steve's case, he was diagnosed via telestroke by a neurologist and stroke specialist at Cedars- Sinai. Telestroke technology allowed the physician to communicate with Torrance Memorial's emergency room team and examine Steve, interpret his brain images, confirm his diagnosis, and provide recommendations just as if he were at Steve's bedside. Life-Saving rombectomy Saves Brain e telestroke system saved Steve's doctors precious minutes, but there was still no time to spare. A highly specialized thrombectomy procedure was needed immediately before his blood clot could cause more damage. rombectomy is a minimally invasive procedure during which a catheter is guided up through an artery in the leg and into the brain. Once inside the brain, the clot is removed using a specialized clot retrieval device. rombectomies are appropriate for patients who, like Steve, have a large clot in a large vessel. ese are often the types of stroke that trigger the worst disabilities or death. Tissue plasminogen activator, more commonly known as tPA, is effective for treating smaller clots, but not always as helpful for strokes so large. In Steve's case, he was also outside the four- and-a-half hour safety window after the onset CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT

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