RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Every four minutes a person in this country dies from a stroke, that's according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Everyday, researchers and doctors are working to find ways to improve the odds.
That research and technology is happening right here at a local hospital. Dr. Aaron Heide, the Director of the Neurology at St. Mary's new Center for Neurovascular Care, treats patients who have had a stroke or have stroke like systems with "telemedicine." Telemedicine is a robot like device where Dr. Heide can see the patient and talk to the patient within seconds, even if he's away from the hospital.
"No matter where I am, I'm actually able to dial in and see the patient, interact with them they can see me, they can hear me, it's just as efficient and effective as a person on site especially during an acute stroke," says Dr. Heide.
Dr. Heide says when you come into the hospital, you want to have fast immediate care especially if you are having a stroke. He says every minute counts.
"Every minute you lose 1.9 million brain cells, and so you want someone on site, this is actually faster than having someone on site," says Dr. Heide.
If a patient comes in, within seconds he is paged or called and able to be next to the bedside whether he's at home or in the hospital. It's a process that used to take much longer.
"You're saving minutes which is saving millions of brain cells," says Dr. Heide.
Dr. Heide gets asked by several patients if he would use this technology on his own family. His answer is yes, and he has. He treated his own father who had a massive stroke using this same technology
"They called me, I was able to dial in with in sixty seconds, and actually see him treat him save him, and actually get several years of life out of him if I wasn't able to do that, see him and treat him that fast, I don't think he would have survived," says Dr. Heide.
The new Neurovascular Care Center where patients go after the emergency room also has the states only nationally accredited neurovascular ultrasound lab where doctors can use a non-invasive approach to see blood flow to the brain. With this new center, patients no longer have to be discharged and then wait to see a specialist.
"This combined with expertise and rapidness of our response and coordination of our response, I think is the best in the country," says Dr. Heide.
Dr. Heide says he treats about a dozen patients a day with the telemedicine and says this equipment is live-saving.