Arizona Telemedicine May 2014 - Page 28

TELESTROKE: Thanks to Telemedicine, Jack Porter is ‘One of the Lucky Ones’ Telemedicine connected Jack Porter in Bisbee to a stroke specialist at Mayo Clinic Hospital – Phoenix. For Porter, a lifethreatening event turned into “a stroke of luck.” J ack Porter isn’t one to admit he had a stroke three years ago. “I didn’t have a stroke,” he will tell you. “I had a stroke of luck.” Mr. Porter, who has lived in Bisbee since he was two weeks old, was unable to talk or move his left leg or left arm when he arrived at Copper Queen Community Hospital’s emergency room. Daniel Roe, MD, chief medical “It works. It saves officer and director of people’s lives.” emergency services and telemedicine at Copper Jack Porter Queen, ordered a CT Bisbee, Arizona scan that showed a clot forming on the right side of Mr. Porter’s brain. But there was no neurologist at the hospital to advise what to do next. And that’s what led to Mr. Porter’s “stroke of luck.” Dr. Roe was able to contact a stroke specialist at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, and transmit Mr. Porter’s scan to the specialist via the Mayo Clinic telestroke network. A live audio-video telemedicine assessment swiftly followed. Based on what Dr. Roe told him about Mr. Porter’s condition and what he saw on the clinical video examination and scan, the Mayo specialist recommended immediate treatment with an injectable “clot-busting” drug called TPA. Within 15 minutes, Mr. Porter was able to get up off his ER bed and walk. 24 “It works. It saves people’s lives,” Mr. Porter says of the Mayo Clinic telestroke network. “Thanks to telemedicine, I was one of the lucky ones. I also have to thank our local emergency responders. They arrived within about a minute and a half of my call. The people at Copper Queen – without everybody working together, I wouldn’t have been so lucky.” In 2009, Copper Queen joined with hospitals in Douglas, Benson, Willcox, and Safford to form the Southern Arizona Telemedicine Alliance. With funding from UnitedHealthcare, telemedicine equipment was installed at each site, with the specific goal of improving stroke care for patients in those communities. Dr. Roe describes Mr. Porter’s experience as “a really dramatic rescue. Bisbee is a population of about 5,500, and we have a very nice set of internists and family practice physicians, but almost no specialists, and no neurologist. “With telemedicine, we’re able to bring specialists into the room with the patient,” Dr. Roe says. “It makes a dramatic difference in the options our patie