Hospital aims to be top stroke center |

Hospital aims to be top stroke center

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and Nevada County’s large senior population is most prone to them.

To meet the challenge, a drive was launched Friday for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital to become a nationally recognized primary care center for strokes.

Though the Grass Valley hospital handles some stroke patients, hospital officials are trying to achieve national standards of expertise for improved care.

To attain its goal, the hospital’s foundation is trying to raise at least $100,000 for the training and a special $65,000 robot that can link round-the-clock to a local neurologist or other primary stroke centers. The hospital expects to incur several hundred thousand dollars in other start-up costs.

“The demographics of our community show we are ripe for strokes,” said foundation campaign leader Gil Mathew, referring to the county’s large amount of retired people.

National Stroke Association figures indicate speed is paramount in dealing with strokes, because they can kill thousands of brain cells per second. In addition 22 percent of men and 25 percent of women who receive them die within a year.

The closest other primary stroke center is in Sacramento, highlighting the need for a closer center.

“This is about efficiency,” said Pat Forsberg, the hospital’s intensive care unit chief, who will implement the program. She also said becoming a primary stroke center will allow the hospital to administer a clot-busting drug that gets rid of blood clots in the brain.

The campaign has been named “Stroke of Luck,” because a woman who came to the hospital thought she had one but didn’t after all. She referred to the episode in that fashion, according to hospital officials.

Almost $20,000 already has been raised, and the target date for the rest is April 1, according to foundation executive director Kimberly Parker, .

To donate or find out more, call the hospital foundation at 477-9700 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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