Drew Memorial Recognized By The Arkansas Department Of Health As Stroke Ready

Monticello, Ark. – Drew Memorial Health System has been recognized by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) as an Arkansas Stroke Ready Hospital (ArSRH). This designation demonstrates the hospital is able to give appropriate care to stroke patients. Only 11 Arkansas hospitals are considered Stroke Ready.

“With stroke, every second counts. Each hour of delay in stroke treatment ages the brain close to 4 years and increases the chances of permanent disability,” said Appathurai Balamurugan, MD, DrPH, State Chronic Disease Director and Medical Director for the ADH Chronic Disease Branch. “The ArSRH designation ensures that stroke patients make it to the closest appropriate hospital when they dial 911.”

Stroke continues to take a significant toll on our state. The most recent data show Arkansas has the fifth highest stroke death rate in the country, with over 45 deaths per 100,000 people every year. Stroke is a leading cause of serious disability. Although life-saving treatment is available to reverse the effects of the most common type of stroke, few patients receive medical care in time.

Hospitals recognized with the ArSRH designation partner with local EMS to improve outcomes by helping ensure stroke patients are rapidly transported to the most appropriate hospital. EMS providers screen patients with standardized protocols to effectively recognize stroke and make sure patients receive the right kind of care.

“We’ve been working toward this designation by partnering with local ambulance services and by providing ongoing professional development,” said Kristen Smith, RN, director of education at Drew Memorial. “We’re very proud to have this designation to show we have made great strides in treating stroke patients.”

Arkansas’s stroke system of care consists of Joint Commission certified Primary Stroke Centers and ADH designated ArSRHs. Hospitals designated as ArSRHs are capable of providing time-critical care to the stroke patient, including initial emergency evaluation, real-time stroke assessment and treatment through telemedicine.

Remembering the B.E.F.A.S.T. acronym is a way to recognize stroke and what to do when it is suspected:

B – Balance: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
E – Eyes: Is there a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?
F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb?
S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to
T – Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go
away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

for a listing of stroke designated hospitals in Arkansas.

Wesley is the owner of South Ark Weather, LLC which owns and operates You may contact him at

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