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Hospital starts new stroke program

Though her love for the outdoors is what drew neurologist Susan Greenawald to Nevada County from Sacramento last year, she has a greater mission to accomplish in the area through her medical expertise.

Greenawald, 45, is the director of a new stroke program that starts this month at the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. She has a medical degree from the University of California, Davis, and did her residency at Stanford University. Greenawald has also started her private practice in an office on Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley.

“Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America and in the world,” Greenawald said. “That’s the reason why we wanted to start a program, because there are so many elderly people in this area.”



Six full-time doctors at the hospital will assist Greenawald in the new program, she said. In addition, the hospital has hired a registered nurse, Tracy Adams, with experience in stroke and trauma to focus exclusively on the treatment of stroke patients, Greenawald said.

“We want to bring us to the cutting edge of all that’s available in the treatment of stroke,” Greenawald said. “We are planning on becoming a certified primary stroke center. The hospital already has very good equipment, so we didn’t have to buy anything new.”




Educating people about stroke

One of the functions of the new stroke program will be to educate people about stroke.

A stroke is a “sudden impairment of brain function resulting either from a susbstantial reduction in blood flow to some part of the brain” or from internal bleeding in brain, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

The biggest danger with stroke is it can be painless and some symptoms could be hard to identify, such as numbness or weakness in a part of the body, speaking difficulties or loss of vision, Greenawald said.

“People need to get into the hospital as soon as they think they have stroke, because we have very beneficial therapies that need to be given within three hours of symptom onset,” Greenawald said.

The hospital is hosting lectures on stroke to educate the public, Greenwald said. “Once people have a stroke, we maximize their improvement through medication and various therapies,” she added.

The hospital foundation is trying to raise about $100,000 for the stroke program, Greenawald said.

Most of that money will go into training hospital staff to treat stroke and hire the new registered nurse, Greenawald said.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail ssen@theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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