By Erika Z. Byrd
Since receiving Advanced Primary Stroke Center certification from the Joint Commission, Desert Regional Medical Center has continued to expand its stroke-related services, including the addition of four physicians specializing in neurology and neuro-critical care, the establishment of an Interventional Neurology Fellowship, and the installation of new technology.
This past April, Desert Regional Medical Center began receiving patients from a larger region of Southern California after being designated as a Stroke Receiving Center by the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA). Desert Regional will become part of the agency’s newly formed stroke network, which empowers emergency responders to bring stroke patients from the High Desert area directly to the hospital for care.
When a person exhibits symptoms of a stroke, timely care is critical. Equally important is receiving appropriate care by professionals who are specialty trained to manage stroke and acute neurological conditions.
As a designated stroke center, Desert Regional Medical Center’s advanced stroke services include delivery of IV medication, as well as interventional neurological procedures to remove clots or treat bleeding. The hospital also has a seven-bed neurological intensive care unit dedicated to stroke and acute neurological patients.
The standard care for stroke patients is IV-tPA — a medication that dissolves a stroke-causing blood clot — if a patient arrives within a three-hour window. Endovascular surgery takes that one step further, using instruments within a tiny catheter to either remove the clot, deliver the tPA medication intra-arterially, perform cerebral or carotid artery angioplasty, carotid artery or intracranial stenting or aneurysm coiling, among other procedures.
Under the direction of Javed Siddiqi, MD, neurosurgeon and medical director of the Institute of Clinical Orthopedics and Neurosciences, the stroke and neurological team includes Thomas J. Wolfe, MD, an interventional neurologist and neuro intensivist who serves as director of stroke services; Muhammad Asif Taqi, MD, an interventional neurologist and neuro intensivist, who joined this past March as director of neuro-critical Care; Patricia Ryan, RN, MSN, ANP-BC who serves as neuro program coordinator, two hospitalist neurologists, emergency room physicians; and a host of support personnel.
“Our network is growing, and we are able to provide 21st century stroke care to patients here in the Valley,” Dr. Wolfe said. “What we are trying to accomplish here is to set the standard of care for the entire region.”
Besides having a highly trained team standing by, hospital personnel frequently give community education lectures to raise awareness of stroke symptoms. “What I found in reviewing emergency room charts is that stroke patients were coming to the hospital later, thinking their symptoms would resolve,” Ryan said. “It’s important to act fast and get prompt medical attention.
Desert Regional Medical Center
Founded in 1948, Desert Regional Medical Center is a 387-bed tertiary acute-care hospital in Palm Springs. The emergency department is the Coachella Valley’s only designated trauma center, receiving patients from the San Jacinto Mountains to the Arizona border. Our hospital also is home to a specialized neurointensive care unit to treat patients who suffer stoke and head trauma. The Women & Infants Center is home to the California desert’s only neonatal intensive care unit.
We work each day to fulfill our mission, to be the hospital you trust to care for those you love.
Advanced Primary Stroke Center at Desert Regional Medical Center
1180 North Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262