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How A Telestroke Program Saved The Life Of A 30-Year-Old Stroke Patient | NEWS-Line for Mental Health Professionals

How A Telestroke Program Saved The Life Of A 30-Year-Old Stroke Patient


Chris Scholten was sitting on the couch with his wife Crystal when he felt something pop in the back of his head.

His blood pressure spiked, he began throwing up and talking like a child. At age 30, he was having an unusual type of stroke.

An ambulance took Mr. Scholten to Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, Illinois, a member of Loyola Medicine's telestroke network. Palos physicians ordered tests and virtually consulted with Michael Schneck, MD, a Loyola neurologist who specializes in stroke care.

At many hospitals, stroke specialists aren't always available. Loyola stroke specialists are on call 24/7 to examine patients remotely and recommend treatments. At the patient's bedside, a microphone and full-color, high-definition camera enable the Loyola specialist to see, hear and talk to the patient and the patient's family, doctors and nurses. The specialist also can examine lab results, CT scans and other images sent over a secure internet connection.

Mr. Scholten was experiencing a stroke in the back of the brain, called the cerebellum. On Dr. Schneck's recommendation, he was brought to Loyola University Medical Center, where he underwent brain surgery by neurosurgeon G. Alexander Jones, MD.

"The long-term recovery from cerebellar strokes is usually really good," Dr. Jones said. "But in the short term, the stroke causes pressure on the brain stem that can be life-threatening."

To relieve the pressure, Dr. Jones performed a procedure called a craniectomy. The surgery, along with other treatments and rehabilitation, enabled Mr. Scholten to make a full recovery.

"This is a story of teamwork," Dr. Schneck said. "Teamwork between Loyola and Palos. Teamwork between neurology and neurosurgery. Teamwork among doctors, nurses and therapists. And, most importantly, [the teamwork of] Chris and his wife."

Mrs. Scholten said she is "beyond grateful" for the care. She also credits her husband. "Chris is here today because of his motivation and determination," Mrs. Scholten said. "He is a fighter, and he will never give up."

The telestroke program is among the patient-care initiatives of the innovative affiliation between Loyola and Palos, which focuses on coordinated and collaborative patient care. Palos patients receive greater access to Loyola’s renowned specialty care services, such as neurosciences and oncology, while having continued access to Palos’ primary care network.

Loyola is among the leaders in the Midwest in telemedicine care and one of few hospitals nationwide to provide specialized stroke care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The program was created by nationally recognized experts in telemedicine—doctors with years of experience in direct bedside applications of the technology.

Loyola's stroke center is certified by the Joint Commission as a comprehensive stroke center. The center includes a nationally recognized team of experts in every facet of stroke-related care, including neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, emergency medicine, rehabilitative services, social work, pharmacy and specialized neuroscience nursing.

For nine years in a row, Loyola has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes Loyola's commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

[photo credit: Loyola University Health System]

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