Getting help where it’s needed

  • Thursday, May 8, 2014

My fingers still get shaky when I push the Lantus Solostar insulin needle apparatus into the injection delivery device once a day for my 50-milligram dose to counter my high counts along with oral medications.

I never liked shots, and the idea of doing it to myself makes me extremely hesitant to inject myself or to check my levels on a regular basis.

But the connection of strokes with diabetes patients, and an obese one like me, is a terror since one can suffer a mini-stroke.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, about four miles from our house, is where I go in case of emergency.

On Oct. 29, 2013, the medical center reported on the American Emergency Vehicle Company in Jefferson, North Carolina, the largest ambulance manufacturing company in the nation, and the development of a prototype.

The ambulance uses a hyperbaric oxygen chamber-equipped Stroke Treatment Ambulance.

It is designed, built and safety-tested, and then comes Phase II application for the National Institute of Health to do human clinical trial testing for the FDA.

There was a 1966 study of 22 stroke patients treated with hyperbaric oxygen, 13 of them one to five hours post-stroke, according to an abstract.

The American Heart Association noted that in the year 2008 the nationwide annual cost of stroke was $65.5 billion. In the state of North Carolina alone, in the year 2005, just the cost of stroke hospital care was $540,000,000.

Every year in this country, there are 750,000 new strokes. Of those 85 percent are ischemic, test rest due to hemorrhage.

So, 637,500 are “possible candidates” for rtPA FDA-approved thrombolytic treatment.

Used in the study were trials done at Duke University.

On April 22, USA Today published an article by Kim Painter about how hospitals that really rush to treat stoke patients and get a clot-busting medicine to the patient are able “to send more survivors straight home rather than to a nursing facility.”

Published by JAMA online, this study was done in more than 1,000 hospitals.

This way a brain scan can be done faster and lab tests plus medication mixing.

James G. McCormick, Ph.D., is director of Research, Aerospace, Hyperbaric and Undersea Medicine and has worked for the World Federation of Neurology. He is the principal investigator. The co-principal investigator is Raymond C. Roy, M.D., Ph.D., former president of Wake Forest University Physicians and professor of anesthesiology.

“This research really excites me in two ways,” Roy said. “First, it is a community-based project and that makes it unique. Second, if stroke symptoms can be reversed with hyperbaric oxygen, then embolus-dissolving therapy may be able to minimize the brain damage associated with the stroke. Outcomes could dramatically improve.”

An ischemic stroke is caused by blood clots. The faster the arrival time, the better the outcome.

So, what if my face was drooping, my arm weak, my speech hard to manage? Call 911 immediately or my freelance journalism career may be over soon.

The researchers have a lot of experience. McCormick worked with diving medicine, studying diving marine mammals at Princeton University, the U.S. Navy and Wake Forest University.

It is important that those in rural, medically underserved areas get treatment.

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