Telemedicine Service in Coral Gables Rescue Vehicles to Help Stroke, Trauma Patients

The Coral Gables Fire Department will be the first fire rescue agency in Miami-Dade County to have a direct audio-video connection between rescue teams inside transport vehicles and medical specialists awaiting the patients’ arrival at Baptist Health’s Hospital Emergency Rooms.

For stroke or head trauma patients, responding quickly is especially a critical factor in providing the right treatment upon arrival at a hospital. The team of healthcare professionals at Baptist Hospital and Miami Neuroscience Institute gather facts quickly to determine if a stroke or head trauma patient can go into imaging, get clot-busting drugs or undergo life-saving surgery. (Simulation pictured above.)

For strokepatients, a very tight timeframe cannot exceed 24 hours from the onset of symptoms.

(Watch Now: The Baptist Health NewsTeam hears from Guilherme Dabus, M.D., Chief of Neuroscience at Miami NeuroscienceInstitute and Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute; and Xavier Jones, CoralGables Fire Rescue Division Chief. Video by George Carvalho.)

“Soevery rescue transporting unit in the city of Coral Gables will have an iPadcomputer tablet in the back,” explains Xavier Jones, Coral Gables FireRescue Division Chief. “The trucks are equipped to do this with routersthat are specific for this type of service. And it’s going to provide a greatservice to residents who will have a direct connection to a neurologist or aneurology team member. The quicker they get the specific treatment that theyneed, the better the outcome for the patient.”

This innovative “telemedicine” program will allow paramedics to consult directly with neurologists, trauma surgeons or other medical professionals through a secured video system.

About fiveyears ago, Baptist Hospital was designated by the Joint Commission, whichaccredits U.S. healthcare organizations, as a “Comprehensive Stroke Center.”This designation means that a facility has the necessary resources — includingadvanced imaging capabilities and neurologists, neurosurgeons andinterventional neuroradiologists — to treat the most complex stroke cases.

“Forstroke patients, every second matters,” says GuilhermeDabus, M.D., Chief of Neuroscience at Miami Neuroscience Instituteand MiamiCardiac & Vascular Institute. “Every opportunity where wecan shave off time from the whole process and get this patient treated as fastas possible can potentially be the difference between a good outcome — with a patientgoing back to his normal life — versus a bad outcome.”

If patientsarrive within 4.5 hours of onset of stroke symptoms, they can be treated withtPA medication, a clot-busting solution used to treat ischemic strokes — themost common type of stroke – and some patients may also need catheter-basedprocedures to remove the clot that is blocking the blood flow. The blood clot cancause serious complications, such as brain swelling, brain damage and can leadto considerable disability or death.

“Apatient getting to the hospital could be a candidate for clot-bustingmedication,” explains Dr. Dabus. “But sometimes we need to providemore advanced treatments, such as catheter-based procedures to unblock vesselsthat are completely obstructed inside the brain. For all these therapies, tighttimeframes are extremely important.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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