Stroke: The Tip of the Spear

Stroke: The Tip of the Spear

Article Sep 05, 2017

For stroke victims and the people who care for them, it’s a moment of great opportunity. 

Recent advances have put U.S. healthcare systems in a better position than ever to help those who suffer from these tragic cerebrovascular accidents. With the time-sensitive nature of stroke events, EMS sits at the tip of that interventional spear. Providers’ choices and actions in the initial moments of a call can make an enormous difference to patients for whom time is literally brain. 

Stroke has a terrible cost. It’s the fifth-leading cause of death and leading cause of adult disability among Americans; each year nearly 800,000 citizens experience a new or recurrent stroke, and every four minutes someone dies. 

For the largest and most deadly of these strokes, mechanical thrombectomy has shown a clear benefit. For those with smaller strokes, clot-busting drugs may be sufficient. But either way, EMS has to recognize a stroke is occurring and get that patient to an appropriate facility to help. 

There’s more to successful outcomes than that, of course, but there’s no denying our role for these patients is great.

With this issue we begin a comprehensive three-part series—authored by top physicians and experts in the field—that looks at the role of EMS in helping stroke victims. This month overviews the challenges and opportunities being faced, describes a novel partnership that’s improving care in South Florida and considers how to get patients to the right level of care for their needs. 

Next month we’ll look at new prehospital stroke scales, and in November state stroke registries and the efficiency of receiving hospitals’ procedures. 

Join us on social media (, @emsworldnews) to continue the discussion and share what your system is doing—or should be—to reduce the morbidity and mortality of this longtime nemesis. 


Dr. Vincent Duron from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York received a $100,000 research grant to enhance standard pediatric trauma care.
The First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grant will provide training and other resources to assist paramedics, law enforcement and health workers to prevent and treat opioid addiction.
The quake ironically struck on the anniversary of a 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in Mexico City.

A bus driver with a record of drunk driving crashed into another bus after speeding through an intersection in Queens, New York City, resulting in 3 deaths and multiple seriously injured patients. 

The new devices replace aging ones, allowing paramedics to provide better patient care and communicate more efficiently with the hospital.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded an additional $144.1 million in grants to prevent and treat opioid addiction in support of President Trump’s commitment to combat the opioid crisis.
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The bills will provide more privacy for car accident victims who are bombarded by medical and legal offices pushing their services.
Caleb Sharpe, a student at Freeman High School, shot one student dead with a semi-automatic rifle and injured three other students until a custodian tackled and disarmed him.

An explosion at the London Tube Station has left 22 people injured and is being treated as a terrorist incident.

For more on this story, click here.

Physicians will provide free diagnoses and may even send prescriptions to the pharmacy for patients who have been displaced from Hurricane Irma.
Tourniquets are among the items in the medical kits, which are frequently used while ensuring scene safety before EMS personnel can treat patients.
While some hospitals affected by Hurricane Irma are beginning to open again, over 400 healthcare facilities statewide remain without power, water and sewer service.

An emergency crew responded to a call of a woman in labor in her home during Hurricane Irma.

The Orlando Fire Department began answering calls this morning after being on lockdown for eight hours while Hurricane Irma brought 50mph winds into the city.