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The Stroke Center

Stroke Center

According to the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 people a year (128,978). That's one in every 20 deaths.  Nearly 800,000 (approximately 795,000) people in the United States have a stroke every year, with about three in four being first-time strokes.  Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.  Every four minutes, someone dies of stroke.  Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and the leading preventable cause of disability.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has created an exclusive Stroke Center designation to improve the standard and access to quality of care for patients with a diagnosis of stroke. The nationally recognized criteria requires those hospitals have a strict protocol or program of care and a team in place to care for patients presenting with symptoms of stroke with a rapid, definitive treatment plan.

Mercy Medical Center has been designated as a NYS Stroke Center in recognition of the efforts of its Stroke Team, comprised of a multidisciplinary group that includes emergency physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, vascular surgeons, and rehabilitation specialists. The stroke team is available to respond for evaluation and treatment of stroke patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the Emergency Department.


Mercy also has received a Get With The Guidelines®Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award from the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association. The medical center has maintained Gold Plus status since 2012. 

Get With The Guidelines is the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association's hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospital to follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations.  To receive the award Mercy achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of ten Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures.

Those measures include aggressive use of medications, anticoagulation therapy, prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis, cholesterol-reducing drugs and smoking cessation - all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

What is a Stroke?
A stroke, also known as a "brain attack" occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a clot or blockage, or a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Generally, effects from a stroke range from mild to severe and can cause a variety of problems including partial or complete paralysis, deficits in motor functions, language deficiencies, loss of comprehension, and word retrieval and emotional changes. Patients may also experience sensory disturbances including pain or numbness following a stroke. Immediate treatment can save someone's life and enhance his or her chances for a successful recovery.

Five warning signs of stroke include:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If someone shows any of these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services.  If you're having a stroke, it's critical that you get medical attention right away. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death. Thanks to recent medical advances, stroke treatments and survival rates have improved greatly and at Mercy Medical Center we are committed to ensuring our patients get the very best care.