Tuesday, August 04, 2015

How much priority will you get when it comes to saving your life?

This week's theme: Taking stroke patients seriously. Sadly, we are not always taken seriously.

This is written in kindness - my life was saved by health professionals in a hospital. But we've all seen the other side in hospitals - the hurry-up-and-wait phenomenon. And in my own personal observations, transportation is a big issue for hospitals.

So it's not a big surprise that in those cases in which a stroke patient needs to move to a stroke center, the transfer is actually no faster than driving yourself:
The overall time from the call to initiate transfer to the comprehensive stroke center to actual arrival at the door averaged 97.8 minutes longer than the expected drive time between the two hospitals, Michael Froehler, MD, PhD, and Kiersten Espaillat, DNP, both of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. reported.
"All transfer times were significantly longer than expected driving times, with average differences per hospital ranging from 46 to 133 minutes," they reported in a poster presentation at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery meeting in San Francisco.
While the farthest out of the six regional medical centers included in the study (ranging from 18 to 119 miles away from Vanderbilt's comprehensive stroke center) nearly always used air transport for transfers, even those never beat the Google Maps-calculated expected drive time.
So to recap, if the hospital starts the transfer it takes more than an hour and a half LONGER to move a desperate stroke patient than if the patient's cousin transports the patient in his pickup truck. Again, professional health provider transportation that bills large amounts of money significantly cuts available time for the patient's treatment. Needlessly.

Now, this study only looked at Nashville-area hospitals; but why is it easy to believe that this could happen almost anywhere?

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