Photo Courtesy of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center

Paramedics identifying severe stroke symptoms in patients they are transporting in the northeastern San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley will now transport them to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. The Mission Hills hospital has been designated a Comprehensive Stroke Center by Los Angeles County’s Emergency Medical Services Agency.

The designation indicates a high level of specialized care, including advanced treatment. Providence Holy Cross specialists are expert in thrombectomy — a minimally invasive procedure to remove blood clots from the brain. Holy Cross was certified last summer as “thrombectomy-capable” by DNV Healthcare, and neurosurgeons have performed 10 of the procedures since then on patients who were brought to the hospital by private parties.

Paramedics who recognize patients with symptoms of severe stroke bypass other hospitals to get to comprehensive centers. Patients are cared for quickly, limiting the possibility of permanent deficits resulting from major strokes.

Additionally, Holy Cross provides a critical care ambulance to pick up patients at hospitals without this high level of expertise. A nurse aboard the ambulance provides treatment en route to Mission Hills.

Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.