A friend thinks F.A.S.T.

Stroke victim benefits from new technology

When Hood River resident Martha Hoskins planned her lunch with Joan Chapman in early January, she had no idea that a friendship bond would be cemented, and that a robot would help save her life.

As the two friends were leaving the restaurant, Chapman noticed Hoskins was not speaking correctly; something was clearly wrong. Recognizing the need for help, Chapman immediately called 9-1-1.

Hoskins was transported to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and evaluated using the Providence Telestroke Network. This network allows stroke patients who arrive at Providence Hood River instant access to stroke neurologists in Portland, using robot technology.

Immediate access is imperative in the case of stroke. Every minute a stroke is left untreated, two million brain cells die.

“I had a stroke before, so I knew exactly what was happening,” said Hoskins. “I was very aware of everything that was going on. I knew what the providers were saying, I just couldn’t respond; it was like I had no voice.”

As soon as Hoskins arrived at Providence Hood River, emergency department staff engaged the Telestroke robot, allowing neurologists in Portland to use the robot to talk with the patient, examine her and confirm she was having a stroke. Within minutes they were able to prescribe a dose of the clot-busting drug tPA.

Following the Telestroke consultation and treatment, Martha was transferred to Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland.

“The care I received at Providence from the time I entered the emergency room and throughout treatment was the best. The staff at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital knew exactly what to do; they are all aces,” said Hoskins.

Telemedicine plays a significant role in treating stroke in smaller hospitals and rural locations. Because tPA was given quickly and the treatment was successful, Hoskins spent only a few days in the hospital recovering.

She now is back at home and able to function on her own without any major stroke-related problems, thanks to the quick thinking of Chapman and the advanced technology of the Telestroke network.

Hoskins now passionately educates about the signs of a stroke. “You can survive a stroke; you just need to know the signs, and call 9-1-1,” advised Hoskins.

An easy way to remember the signs of stroke is to think of the word FAST.

“F” stands for face — does it look uneven?

“A” is for arms — is one arm numb or drifting down?

“S” is for speech — is speech jumbled?

“T” stands for time — call 9-1-1 immediately.

Providence Hood River is one of 18 hospitals connected to the Portland-based Providence Stroke Center via the Telestroke network.

Providence Stroke Center is a nationally certified Primary Stroke Center. The Providence stroke team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventionists, radiologists, nurses and therapists.

The team works to quickly diagnose patients and use the most technically advanced methods to remove clots, repair broken arteries that cause strokes, and restore blood flow to the brain.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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