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DO 18 - Leg. Spencer - PR

Posted on: October 2, 2020

18 Months Later - Rolling Emergency Rooms Are Proving to Save Time and Brain in Stroke Victims

Health Committee Members with Dr. David Fiorella

Riverside, NY – In March of last year, David Fiorella, MD, PhD, went before the Suffolk County Health Committee chaired by Legislator William Spencer, MD and announced the launch of Long Island’s first Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) program aimed at reducing death of stroke victims. Fast forward 18 months and Dr. Fiorella has reported to the same committee this afternoon that since deployment, the Mobile Stroke Units (MSU) have been on over 1000 total calls. Findings during the first-year show Stony Brook Medicine's (SBM) units have successfully facilitated the diagnosis and rapid delivery of time-critical therapies to stroke patients at the point of care resulting in substantially improved outcomes. 

“Stony Brook Medicine is appreciative to Legislator Spencer for his advice and guidance during the planning stages of our Mobile Stroke Unit program," said David Fiorella, MD, PhD, neurointerventionalist and Director of the Stony Brook Cerebrovascular Center and Co-Director of the Stony Brook Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center. "We are also very grateful to all of the members for the Suffolk County Legislature for their help in promoting the program’s success and look forward to further improving upon these outcomes and expanding this program to service even more residents of Suffolk County in the future." 

Data from the program further shows stroke patients transported by the MSU had much greater rates of discharges directly from the hospital to home after treatment, higher rates of independent clinical outcomes after stroke and much lower rates of death from stroke when compared to national averages, county average, and Stony Brook's own data preceding the MSU program.   

“The work that Dr. Fiorella and his team are doing is extraordinary. Their mission and vision for this program was to reduce disabilities and save lives and they have successfully met that goal. The reduced time it takes their units to reach and care for stroke victims is yielding measurable improvements to the lives they touch. In looking into the future, it is my hope that the remarkable treatment they are providing patients will be expanded with additional units located in strategic areas of Suffolk County. Building out this program will further their goal to reduce all the risks associated with strokes and offer the best stroke care in the country,” stated William R. Spencer. 

The two strategically stationed rolling stroke emergency rooms are located off of the Long Island Expressway at Exits 57 and 68, and are equipped with telehealth capability to communicate with physicians at Stony Brook University Hospital. When a suspected stroke call comes in, the mobile stroke unit is dispatched and the team works quickly to determine the type of stroke the patient is experiencing using the features on board including a CT scanner and CT angiogram.  Once that is determined, first responders in the unit can begin administering time-sensitive, advanced stroke treatments such as the clot busting agent tPA/IV tPA, while the person is en route to the nearest hospital with the appropriate level of care they require. During today’s presentation at the Health Committee, Dr. David Fiorella discussed the goal to locate two more units to further penetrate the county with their critical care for stroke patients.

Strokes are a major public health concern nationwide. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke and every four minutes someone dies on one - according to the American heart Association.

Signs of Stroke in Men and Women

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Call 9-1-1 right away if you or someone else has any of these symptoms!

To learn more about stroke care delivered through the Stony Brook Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit, watch this video:

Pictured above: Members of the Suffolk County Health Committee with Dr. Fiorella. Legislator Tom Donnelly, Presiding Officer Rob Calarco, Legislator Leslie Kennedy, Dr. David Fiorella, Legislator William R. Spencer M.D, Legislator Susan A. Berland and Legislator Kara Hahn.


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