Columbus has a specialized vehicle to treat stroke patients wherever the incident takes place. The Mobile Stroke
Treatment Unit represents a collaboration of the Columbus Division of Fire, Mount Carmel Health System, Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, and OhioHealth. Columbus City Council member and Public Safety Committee chair Mitch Brown says the concept of the mobile unit is about bringing definitive care to the patient as quickly as possible.
"There are an estimated 17 million strokes worldwide each year," Brown said. "In 2018, our EMS units responded to over 833 stroke runs. But strokes are treatable. The stroke mobile will be able to respond and treat both non-bleeding and bleeding strokes. The unit will be staffed by two Columbus Division of Fire paramedics, a CT technologist, a nurse practitioner, and a physician assistant, with patient treatment being overseen by an OhioHealth physician.”
OhioHealth Dr. B.J. Hicks says the mobile unit will be able to respond to 911 calls and make the assessment wherever the patient resides.
"That really presses the fast forward button on their care, because you're being seen by an advanced practice provider who is stroke trained right there at the bedside," Dr. Hicks said. "We have the CT techs. We have the ability to draw labs. We have the ability to look at the CAT scan in real time because the stroke doctors like myself are notified as soon as possible and able to assess the patient as well via telemedicine technology. They'll be able to discern whether a clot-busting treatment is needed or a bleeding reversal medicine is needed or if the patient is actually having a seizure and seizure medicines are needed or other medical emergencies which are required at the time."
Eventually, the patient will be taken to the nearest of the three comprehensive, certified stroke centers: Wexner Medical Center, Riverside, or Mount Carmel East. Financial and operational support for the $1 million mobile unit comes from OhioHealth. Stroke affects the arteries leading to and within the brain, and it's the leading cause of disability in the United States. Health officials say warning signs include face drooping or numbing, arm weakness, blurred vision, loss of balance, and slurred speech.