Understanding Emergency Response Procedures for Stroke

When a stroke occurs, time is of the essence. The sooner a patient reaches a certified stroke center, the better the chances are of his or her survival. Prompt emergency care at a hospital can also facilitate a better long-term outcome for stroke survivors. Residents of the San Jose area are invited to watch this brief video, which features an emergency care doctor at Good Samaritan Hospital . He explains how the emergency medical services (EMS) personnel work closely with the ER team to facilitate prompt stroke responses.

Stroke Alert

Upon recognizing the potential signs of stroke, patients will ideally call 911 immediately. The emergency dispatcher will send EMS personnel to the patient’s location. The EMS team may include professionals like paramedics who can rapidly assess the patient’s condition. Then, the EMS team can send a stroke alert to the nearest Comprehensive Stroke Center to let the emergency care physicians know that a potential stroke patient is on the way. The stroke alert allows the hospital staff to prepare for the patient’s arrival, which helps the patient receive treatment faster.

EMS Management

EMS personnel are trained to initiate life-saving interventions before the patient even arrives at the hospital. EMS personnel will assess the patient’s airway, breathing, and circulation—known as the ABCs. The patient’s blood glucose may also be checked. The patient will receive oxygen if needed. It can sometimes be helpful to transport a family member or caregiver to the hospital with the patient. These individuals may help EMS personnel establish the time at which symptoms first developed. This information is particularly crucial for stroke cases because certain life-saving interventions can only be administered within a specific window of time.

Rapid Interventions

When the patient arrives at the hospital, the emergency care team will quickly assess his or her condition and determine an appropriate response. For ischemic stroke, powerful clot-busting medications may be administered. Some stroke patients may undergo emergency surgery.

Good Samaritan Hospital is a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center that treats nearly 600 stroke patients every year. Our state-of-the-art hospital in San Jose provides a continuum of services for stroke patients-from our emergency care to rehabilitation to stroke survivor support groups. Please call 911 immediately if you think you’re having a stroke; non-emergency inquiries may be directed to a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362.

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