Texas County Memorial Hospital remains among institutions in Missouri with a Level III Stroke Designation. From left: Bill Bridges, director of emergency services; Paul Schaefer, DO and stroke medical director; Jason Mayberry, education director and stroke program manager; Chantel Garrison, emergency room director; and Courtney Owens, chief nursing officer. Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Texas County Memorial Hospital recently received its designation as a “Level III Stroke Center” hospital after a thorough review by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) Time Critical Diagnosis Unit.   

The designation was first given to TCMH in 2014. Every four years the hospital goes through a rigorous onsite survey to requalify for the specialized designation. The team consists of a stroke coordinator or stroke program manager, one emergency medicine physician, one or two neurologist(s)/neuro-interventionalist(s) all with experience in stroke, and one representative from DHSS. 

A stroke is a sudden brain dysfunction due to a disturbance in brain circulation.  The resulting impairments include but are not limited to paralysis, slurred speech, and/or vision loss.  Ischemic strokes account for 80-87 percent of all strokes and are typically caused by obstruction of cerebral blood vessels.  Hemorrhagic strokes account for the remaining strokes and are typically caused by the rupture of a cerebral artery. 

Missouri ranks seventh in stroke prevalence with a stroke death rate that is 11 percent higher than the national rate.  Stroke conditions can be linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and smoking. 

Most strokes are sudden and intense, with symptoms that can include sudden headache, difficulty speaking, balance or vision problems, and numbness on one side of the body.

Learning the signs of a stroke is important.  Even if you aren’t sure if you are experiencing a stroke, it should be checked out at the nearest emergency room or by calling 911 for emergency medical services. 

Missouri is the first state to integrate common processes for the time-critical conditions – trauma, stroke or the potentially fatal form of heart attack known as STEMI.  All these conditions require quick assessment, diagnosis and treatment by a facility that can provide timely, definitive care to minimize the risk of preventable complications and death for stroke patients.  

“Missouri has designated 43 stroke centers and TCMH is one of them,” Jason Mayberry, TCMH education director and stroke program manager, said. “Our goal at TCMH is to provide patients the right care and in the right amount of time.”

According to Mayberry, with TCMH’s Level III Stroke Center Designation, the hospital plays an important role in providing access into the system and important patient care with being in a rural area and generally refers to a higher-level center for definitive care. 

In 2021, 83 patients came to TCMH experiencing stroke-like symptoms.  Each time, the stroke response team was activated to treat or rule out the stroke.  Mayberry and the team know that every minute counts for patients that may be experiencing a stroke.

“Getting timely and appropriate emergency medical treatment when suffering a stroke is critical,” Mayberry said, “Prompt treatment reduces death and disability significantly.”

“TCMH focuses on quality patient care as our core mission,” Paul Schaefer, DO, and TCMH stroke medical director, said. “This designation represents a commitment to reducing death and disability due to a stroke. It reinforces our dedication and attention to detail about the importance of quality care.”

For additional information about stroke symptoms and health factors that can cause a stroke, contact Mayberry at 417-967-1340 or Jason.mayberry@tcmh.org.

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