Boston Doctors: Mass. needs law ensuring stroke patients are taken to best hospital, not closest

Two Boston stroke doctors are urging Massachusetts lawmakers to support a bill that would ensure stroke patients get the best treatment as quickly as possible.

In Massachusetts, first responders are required by law to take stroke patients to the closest hospital, regardless of the stroke’s severity. Unfortunately, the closest hospital may not be the best hospital to treat them.

Drs. Thabele Leslie-Mazwi and Thanh Nguyen say legislation is needed to improve the outcomes of stroke patients in Massachusetts.

Drs. Thabele Leslie-Mazwi and Thanh Nguyen wrote an op-ed for CommonWealth Magazine this month in support of a bill that would allow first responders to bypass the local hospital when necessary, getting the patient to the best care right away.

Leslie-Mazwiand, the director of endovascular Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Nguyen, director of neuroendovascular service at Boston Medical Center, say the bill will save lives.

“First responders need to have the ability to triage and transport these patients to the facilities best-equipped to treat them,” they write. “The most severe strokes may require procedures to remove the blood clot causing the stroke, restore blood supply to the brain, and save threatened tissue.”

Legislation being considered by Massachusetts lawmakers — and supported by the American Heart Association — would ensure that patients experiencing the most severe cases of stroke are triaged by ambulance crews and transported to hospitals capable of performing such a procedure at any time . These facilities, known as Level 1 Stroke Centers, are staffed with highly trained neurointerventional care teams: doctors, nurses and technologists.

Click here to send a message on Twitter asking your local lawmaker to support this lifesaving bill.