Another innovation from the Texas Medical Center. The U-T Health Science Center and Memorial Hermann Hospital are unveiling the nation’s first mobile stroke unit.
The new mobile unit, really a modified ambulance, will be working 911 stroke calls within a three mile radius of the Medical Center as part of a demonstration project to determine if a wider deployment would be cost effective.
U-T and Memorial Hermann Neurologist Dr. James Grotta says what really sets the new unit apart is the mobile C-T scanner aboard the ambulance.
“We evaluate the patient and if it turns out that it really is a stroke, then we put them in our ambulance, do the C-T scan and treat them right there on the scene,” using the clot busting drug known as TPA.
Dr. Grotta says treating a patient on the scene will save an hour or more, leaving the patient with less brain damage, and saving, on the whole, the average treatment cost per patient of 200-thousand dollars.
Dr Grotta says that means cost effectiveness. “If we could cure two more patients from their stroke, that would pay for the C-T scanner.
Obviously, this single ambulance can’t cover a very large area, “This is a demonstration project. We are locating right here in the Medical Center and we are only going to deploy it within a three mile radius of Memorial Hermann Hospital-Medical Center because we only have one,” Dr Grotta said.
He adds, if this demonstration project proves to be cost effective, they may go back to Houston City Hall, asking for funding to deploy between five and ten additional units, strategically stationed at locations around the city.