January 19, 2018

Jackie Medland: Providing Services to Address Sudden and Serious Health Crises

By Jackie Medland
President/CNO, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital

January is a time when many of us are energized by our hopes and intentions for the New Year. One of my aims for 2018 is to continue to provide our community with a better working knowledge about the scope of services at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, because we want you to understand and trust how we’re prepared to care for you and your family in your times of greatest need.

I recently spoke with a community member who was formulating a plan in the event that she experiences a serious health emergency, like a heart attack or stroke – a wise and proactive move on her part. She provided me with a great opportunity to think about our services from the patient’s perspective.  Let’s say you’re home alone, and you experience symptoms of a stroke.  The acronym “FAST” provides an easy way to remember stroke signs:

  • Face: Look for an uneven smile
  • Arm: Check if one arm is weak
  • Speech: Listen for slurred speech
  • Time: Call 911 right away

For anyone experiencing these symptoms a stroke, HCH can provide the following care:

  1. EMS will notify our Emergency Department (ED) and prepare for the individual’s arrival as time is of the essence.
  2. HCH’s trained emergency physician will provide an immediate, thorough evaluation to determine if a stroke has occurred.
  3. If there is evidence of a stroke, the patient will receive an immediate CT scan to reveal whether a clot has obstructed blood flow to the brain, or if a blood vessel burst and caused a “brain bleed.”
  4. Our telemedicine capabilities allow us to communicate immediately and remotely with dedicated stroke experts at Mission Hospital, a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, where a board certified stroke neurologist will collaborate with our physician 24 hours per day, every single day of the year. Our goal is to have all this accomplished within 10 minutes of arrival to the ED.
  5. Our ED physician and Mission Hospital stroke neurologist will recommend treatment based on diagnostic findings, when symptoms began, and other factors. The patient may receive a “clot busting” drug here at HCH if appropriate, be immediately transferred to Mission Hospital by the MAMA helicopter if surgery or other intervention is necessary, or be admitted to HCH for observation and other treatment.

We’re proud to provide the full array of care for a patient suffering from a stroke, and as recovery follows, we also offer post-acute rehabilitation services either in the hospital or the Eckerd Living Center.  These programs, along with our MAMA helicopters, ensure that stroke patients receive the best – and fastest – care available.  That’s important, because the faster patients can get to the hospital and be evaluated, diagnosed, and treated, the better they’ll fare in recovery.

With the integrated network of the Mission Health system, the care we provide to this community is advanced and expansive – and we strive for continuous improvement with your input. I remain committed to working with you to make our community stronger and healthier, in 2018 and beyond.