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Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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WA Hospitals ‘Prescribe’ Improvements for Stroke Care

December 16, 2008

Seattle, WA – The Washington Department of Health says fewer than three percent of people who suffer the most common type of stroke get the best treatment for it - and at least 26 hospitals around the state are working to change that.

They're all part of a voluntary American Heart Association program called "Get with the Guidelines." It's a step-by-step system that covers everything from emergency care to giving effective follow-up advice to stroke patients.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Dr. David Tirschwell, a vascular neurologist and medical co-director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, points out that all hospitals are capable of handling such an emergency. Having a consistent system in place, however, ensures everyone gets the right treatment.

"The hospitals that use quality improvement processes are more likely to have all the pieces in place to treat every stroke patient with the best therapy, at the best time."

Having these types of guidelines to follow helps in a busy hospital, because time is critical when treating a stroke victim. Unlike a heart attack, Tirschwell explains, strokes don't always cause pain - leading many to assume their symptoms will pass, when they should be calling 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.

"One of the big gaps, and one of the reasons why more people don't get some of the best therapies, is because many, many stroke patients don't present to the hospital early enough after the onset of their symptoms."

A new, national five-year study says the program is working to prevent recurring strokes and reduce complications, and that hospitals using it have improved their patient care, regardless of the hospital's size or geographic location. Learn more about "Get With the Guidelines" online, at www.americanheart.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA