Patients diagnosed as possible stroke victims can now receive initial treatment at Blue Mountain Hospital, before being flown to another facility, where they can receive advanced treatment
As a certified Stroke Receiving Facility, ambulances can no longer bypass Blue Mountain Hospital to take patients to San Juan Hospital, in Monticello. Any ambulances in the south part of San Juan County, coming north with a potential stroke patient, must now stop at Blue Mountain Hospital because of the hospital's new Telestroke certification.
"I know we've had two ambulances this year that said they had a potential stroke patient, coming off the Reservation, and they were headed to San Juan Hospital," said BMH Emergency Manager Cari Spillman. "It's not going to be a ton of patients, but when we are talking about an hour transit time to BMH from the southern communities, and we have to get them the medical care they need within three hours, and they've already had an hour- long ambulance ride to get here, even saving them a half-an-hour can make a big difference. If it makes a difference to one person in the next ten years then it was worth it."
The Emergency Room at BMH has a state-of-the-art TeleStroke machine that allows ER personnel to have direct contact with specialists at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. These specialists can then see, communicate with, and diagnose, a potential stroke patient via a direct television link. This TeleStroke technology allows ER staff to determine whether a potential stroke patient needs to be treated, and/or transported to a different facility to receive treatment.
There is a three-hour window of time, when stroke patients must be diagnosed, begin receiving treatment, and be transported in order to ensure the highest possible chance of recovery. In the past, only those potential stroke patients who walked into the ER at Blue Mountain Hospital were able to use the Telestroke machine at BMH. Now, any patient being transported in the BMH service area by ambulance, must be taken to Blue Mountain Hospital. As Spillman noted, if this service saves even one life, it is worth it. However, as a Stroke Receiving Facility, BMH now has the ability to help even more potential stroke patients.