Quick diagnosis and treatment for a stroke can mean the difference between a strong recovery or a lifelong disability, or death. Stroke is the No. 1 cause of disability in the nation and the No. 5 cause of death.
Lakewood and eight surrounding communities are fortunate that a stroke-specialty ambulance operated by the L.A. County Fire Department has just been assigned to the region. The ambulance is the first of its kind in California.
L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn unveiled the new Mobile Stroke Unit on January 8 at a local fire station. It will respond to 9-1-1 stroke calls in Lakewood and eight other cities in the region. Lakewood Mayor Diane DuBois joined Supervisor Hahn at the press conference announcing the new stroke unit.
The specialized ambulance is equipped with a portable CT scanner that can diagnose strokes in the field, along with a neurologist, critical care nurse, CT technician and paramedic. That team can administer stroke-specific medications in the field, and get patients ready for more intensive treatment on the way to stroke-specialty hospitals. Strokes too often go undiagnosed or ignored for too long until their effects are very serious, which wastes valuable minutes and hours when treatment could be made that would prevent a patient from suffering a serious disability or death.
Learn more about spotting a possible stroke in yourself, family or friends at http://bit.ly/1iaoEWG. Learn about the “FAST” warning signs, which are: • Face drooping • Arm weakness • Speech difficulty • Time to call 9-1-1