In June 2019, Debbie Cook’s grandmother didn’t feel good, and he immediately called 911, knowing that it would take a lot of time to cover the roads in Fentress County, Tennessee. When she saw her condition as a licensed nurse, she immediately recognized the symptoms of stroke that she was suffering from. Her mother, Lottie Crouch, was 75 years old; she still does most of the work. But the main problem would be where they take her mother for stroke care.
Stroke Patients Of Appalachia And The Mississippi Delta Travel A Lot For Treatment
This is the most common problem for the people living in regions of Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta. Around 800,00 suffer from stroke every year across the nation, and 80% of cases came from these regions. These regions faced a lot because of the high rate of poverty, shortage of medical care, and local hospitals.
The regions like Tennessee, which have 2 million populations, have to drive for 45 minutes to get stroke-certified hospitals. According to a new analysis by KHN Investigate TV, in most of the states such as Arkansas and Mississippi, patients have to pay a lot for stroke care in those specialized hospitals. They are researching the health conditions and issues of the people living in those regions and found that stroke is on the top.
There are many specialized stroke health care units established, but people from rural areas have come far to get treatment. As every patient is not the same and their complications are also different while some of them lose their lives on the route only.
Dr. Rahul Nogureira, an international neurologist at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, said there are different treatments for patients, and where to take the patients depends on the time factor. The stroke patients should get treated from the nearest hospital when a stroke happens. It cuts down the blood flow to reach the brain, and for restoring the blood flow, they need a doctor.
But as from new research, stroke patients need specialists with advanced procedures. And now the goal is not to take the patient to the hospital but to take them to the right hospital and the right doctors.
As is living in cities, it’s quite easy to get to any hospitals but not in case of rural and outskirts of the city. They have to make decisions in a very short period. In the case of Lottie Crouch, she can’t even go to the nearest hospital, which is just 20 minutes away because it’s shut two months back.
They have to call EMS and have to take her to a state hospital which is 45 minutes away. If a patient has a severe stroke, he has to cover all the charges like long trips for an ambulance, which’s $500, and for a helicopter, it’s $50,000, which is very expensive.
There are two types of stroke treatment for strokes caused by a clot, the first one is using an IV to break the clots in blood vessels, and the medicine should be given within 4 hours. And the second one is using a catheter to remove the clot physically, and this can take up to 24 hours. The question is which facility should be used at the right time.
According to the research, in America, black Americans have more stroke percentages than the white population. And around 70% of the black population is living in the poorest regions. The rural hospital doctors have access to clot-breaking drugs, but due to lack of specialization, they hesitate a bit.
Dr. Amelia Adock, a neurologist from West Virginia, said that implementing a Telestroke program helps bridge the gap. By connecting the doctors from rural areas to a specialist from large medical centers will surely help in quick decision making and the right treatment procedure for stroke patients.