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North Dakota Lawmakers Have Chance to Save Lives and Money

January 23, 2009

Bismarck, ND – Stroke victims may soon have better-focused, more-timely treatment if the state legislature approves a new law. The bill, backed by the American Heart Association, aims to help emergency medical personnel choose which type of stroke treatment is proper, and which hospital offers it.

The North Dakota House Human Services Committee heard testimony Monday from stroke experts, and one of them was the medical director of the stroke center at St. Alexius Medical Center, Doctor Shiraz Hyder. According to Hyder, the state already has such standards for trauma patients.

"You are trying to create a similar level of care for stroke patients, because there, too, we are dealing with an urgency. That brain is suffering and needs to be taken care of right away."

Hyder says six hospitals in the state are now primary stroke centers.

"I think we should be able to bring another four or five hospitals to a level where they could be considered stroke centers as well."

Hyder hopes a stroke center eventually would be located within 50 miles of every community, offering patients the best chance at care. Since stroke is the leading cause of long-term care admissions in the state, Doctor Hyder believes the legislation will save North Dakota taxpayers money; it could also save lives and improve the quality of life of stroke survivors.


Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND