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Thomas Jefferson EMS Council to Offer Stroke Course for First Responders

Posted: Updated:
University of Virginia Medical Center University of Virginia Medical Center
University of Virginia Health System nurse Beth Hundt University of Virginia Health System nurse Beth Hundt
Tom Joyce, executive director of the Thomas Jefferson EMS Council Tom Joyce, executive director of the Thomas Jefferson EMS Council
Dr. John Gaughen of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital Dr. John Gaughen of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

First responders in central Virginia are set to get new training to help them treat stroke victims. It’s a program that's first-of-its-kind in the commonwealth.

Doctors, nurses, and first responders across the region hope this new training will help them save lives and keep more lives normal. In the long run, they think it may even save money.

University of Virginia Health System nurse Beth Hundt has a mantra she uses over and over when she talks about stroke.

“We tell everyone that time is brain,” Hundt said.

Strokes kill one American every four minutes, which means the clock is ticking for first responders.

“Their assessment and management is critical before patients arrive at the hospital,” said Hundt.

Experts say many paramedics are not fully up to speed on how exactly to begin treatment on stroke victims but now, the Thomas Jefferson EMS Council is partnering with the UVA Medical Center and Sentara Martha Jefferson to try and change that.

The course, set for February, originates from the University of Miami and is all about stroke.

“It’ll raise the level of the bar of training that's available for EMS folks,” said Tom Joyce, executive director of the Thomas Jefferson EMS Council.

“It allows that EMS provider to have a strong foundation when they see that patient to say, 'Oh these are the signs of a stroke, these are the things we need to do to you right now, and this is how quickly we need to do these things to you,’” said Dr. John Gaughen of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

No other agencies in Virginia have taught a program like this, until now.

It’s one that Gaughen says should help save lives.

"Stroke is still the number one cause of disability in adults in America and one of the major contributors to healthcare cost. So, reducing that is going to have potentially a huge impact on our population,” Gaughen said.

The course is scheduled for February 11 February 12 in Charlottesville.

It’s for providers in central Virginia but open to others around the state.

The Thomas Jefferson EMS Council hopes to put it on periodically after February.

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