Certified Stroke Care in Your Community

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Published on November 27, 2019

Certified Stroke Care in Your Community

PIH Health Downey Hospital Is Now a Primary Stroke Center

Photo of stroke patientPhoto of stroke patientTime is of the essence when it comes to stroke care. The faster a stroke is diagnosed, the greater the chances of survival and recovery. That’s why we’re proud to announce that PIH Health Downey Hospital has attained advanced certification by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. This means that the hospital has met The Joint Commission’s high standards in providing stroke care and will provide Downey and surrounding communities with access to the next generation of stroke care. Those standards include having a designated stroke unit for continuous patient monitoring, compliance with the latest clinical practice guidelines, and other rigorous requirements that demonstrate PIH Health’s delivery of excellent stroke care.

One patient who is particularly grateful of this new certification is Alicia Higuera, a 56-year-old resident of Bellflower. On March 20, Alicia should have been celebrating her birthday, but she wasn’t feeling well all day and her husband noticed she wasn’t speaking clearly on the phone. He immediately left work and took Alicia to PIH Health Downey Hospital, which is just 10 minutes away from the couple’s home.

Although the emergency room was busy—and Alicia had yet to check in—the staff noticed Alicia’s difficulty walking and talking, and suspected a possible stroke. Within five minutes, they took her in for a stroke assessment and within 10 minutes, she was admitted for testing, confirmation and treatment. Turns out, she had an ischemic stroke, a serious condition usually caused by a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain.

The hospital’s stroke team, led by Martin Orens MD, emergency medicine and Dane Copeland MD, neurologist immediately administered a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a medication that helps to break down blood clots and restore blood flow to the brain when given within 4.5 hours of stroke onset. Alicia arrived just in time! She spent the next 24 hours in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and two days later she was released home.

“It means so much that PIH Health Downey Hospital was able to care for me in my time of need,” said Alicia. “Having expert stroke care so close to home helped me get the critical treatment I needed very quickly. I’m very fortunate to have made a full recovery.”

PIH Health’s other hospital, PIH Health Whittier Hospital is a Comprehensive Stroke Center, which is the highest certification that a stroke center can receive. Two hospitals work closely to provide the appropriate level of stroke care and patients have all the resources they need to address their condition from the moment they arrive at the hospital to the moment they transition to rehabilitation or home.

If you or someone you love is ever in need of stroke care, remember that both PIH Health’s hospitals are among the best.

For more information about stroke care at PIH Health, visit PIHHealth.org/Stroke.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.