MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s emergency center is staffed with board-certified physicians, experienced physician assistants, and emergency nurses and technicians. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we handle well over 60,000 visits each year. Our department also has access to a wide variety of specialists including surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, internal medicine, and obstetrics.
In the case of serious illnesses such as heart attack and stroke, every minute counts. Our emergency center provides a rapid, multidisciplinary approach to these medical emergencies and continue to save lives in our community every day.
As a cardiac interventional center, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center receives heart attack patients from across the region by ambulance and helicopter. We have a dedicated cardiac catheterization team on call at all times, which allows us to minimize the amount of time that elapses between the time the patient arrives at the hospital and the time the patient receives lifesaving coronary angioplasty in the cardiac catheterization lab.
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is also a primary stroke center. If a patient comes to the emergency department with a suspected stroke, the on-call stroke team is activated and performs diagnostic tests and evaluation in minutes. If a stroke is occurring, the team can administer “clot-busting” medication or treatment to restore blood flow to the brain.
The Stroke Center at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center saves lives every day. According to the American Stroke Association, “a stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts.” The part of the brain fed by that blood vessel can no longer get the oxygen it needs, and the cells begin to die as a result. If a person having a stroke receives rapid treatment, that individual stands a good chance of recovering. But time lost is brain lost.
The Stroke Center is equipped to respond quickly and effectively to an evolving stroke. When a patient with a possible stroke comes in, the emergency department physician activates the stroke team and begins a battery of tests that will determine the patient’s course of treatment. The stroke team, which will work with stroke patients from the ER through rehabilitation, conducts CT scans, x-rays, EKGs, blood tests, and neurological exams within minutes to assess what type of stroke is occurring and what treatment options are available. Patients are admitted directly into the Stroke Center from the emergency department in order to receive treatment as soon as possible.
Quick intervention in a stroke can save a life, but long-term rehabilitation can give many stroke victims back their quality of life as well. The Stroke Center’s staff includes occupational therapists, physical therapists, and case managers who provide guidance and encouragement to help the patients “retrain the brain.” Therapy is available on an inpatient and outpatient basis and is customized to each individual’s needs. MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is proud to be the region’s first designated primary stroke center. The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) granted the hospital primary stroke center status in recognition of our stroke team’s extensive training and expertise in the immediate and long-term treatment of stroke victims.
If you think you or a loved one may be having a stroke, do not wait. Call 911 right away.
A stroke happens when blood flow to part of the brain is cut off because a blood vessel becomes blocked or bursts. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States and the third leading cause of death.
The Maryland Stroke Alliance encourages everyone to know the warning signs of stroke. These vary according to the part of the brain being affected but can include:
If you suspect that a loved one may be having a stroke, conduct the “Act F.A.S.T.” quick stroke check:
F - Face: Ask the person to smile. Does the face droop?
A - Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S - Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T - Time: If you observe any of these signs, then it’s time to call 911.
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center has been designated a primary stroke center by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS).