Telemedicine Saves Lives
A video connection between The University of Toledo Medical Center and Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky likely saved the life of a Sandusky man. Actually, not once, but twice. Michael Allison was in the Firelands emergency room with a potential stroke last fall. I was lucky enough to have the chance to meet Michael and his wife recently and they shared their remarkable story with me.
When Michael went to Firelands last November, he says he was examined by physicians there, who decided to call in UTMC neuro-interventionalist Dr. Mouhammad Jumaa. Dr. Jumaa was in Toledo. Mr. Allison was in Sandusky. Yet, they were talking face to face through a video link up. The UTMC Stroke Network, which includes several community hospitals in the region, gives physicians and patients what they need most: timely assessment of stroke symptoms. It links specialists at UTMC via video to patients and physicians in hospital emergency rooms. Dr. Jumaa requested a CT of Michael’s brain at Firelands to get more information on his condition. Michael and his wife Kelli say while having that scan, he had a massive stroke. Kelli says his face drooped and he couldn’t breathe. An air ambulance quickly brought him to UTMC and Dr. Jumaa was waiting. Already familiar with the case, he went to work, intervening and going in with a catheter to remove a clot mechanically from a major blood vessel in Michael’s brain. Kelli says she raced to Toledo and remembers seeing Dr. Jumaa walk by her to care for her husband. She says the Stroke Network helped her, too. She had actually “met” Dr. Jumaa via video as well, and when she saw him again, this time in person, she knew her husband was in good hands.
But Michael’s story doesn’t end there. Shortly after this medical emergency came more news that would threaten his life. Kelli Allison says that her husband had a heart attack shortly after he left ICU. As UTMC experts learned more about Michael’s heart health, they realized that his aortic valve was destroyed, his coronary arteries were blocked and he needed a new valve and a bypass operation or he would die. Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Mark Bonnell would be the second UTMC specialist to save Michael’s life. January 15th, 2014 Michael received his new bioprosthetic (mechanical) aortic valve along with a double bypass. His wife says eight hours before that surgery, Michael became a grandpa. Thanks to rapid, cooperative and innovative care, Michael is enjoying his new role as a “grandpa”.
The UTMC Stroke Network partners with several regional community hospitals including Firelands Regional Medical Center, Wood County Hospital, Henry County Hospital, Magruder Hospital and Fulton County Health Center.