Using video conferencing to save lives

Published: Jun. 26, 2013 at 9:36 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2013 at 12:23 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Video chatting with family and friends has become pretty common with today's technology. Now, doctors at Our Lady of the Lake are using the same technology to connect with patients when they most need it.

Just over a year ago, the Lake began the Telestroke Medicine Program, to remotely treat patients suffering from strokes.  The program connects the Lake to West Feliciana Parish Hospital, Lane Regional Hospital, St. Elizabeth Hospital, and the Lake's branch in Livingston.

Stroke emergencies are particularly time sensitive.  Doctors often say "time is brain" because the longer it takes to treat a stroke patient, the less likely treatment will be successful.

"If the patient is not in the emergency room in an adequate amount of time then the therapy that we have available becomes a determent," explained neurologist Dr. Jay Acosta.

However, specialists are not always available at every location or every emergency room.  That's where the Telestroke program comes in.

Thelma Layton suffered a stroke while she was working at her salon in Solitude, Louisiana, just north of St. Francisville.

"I lost the usage of my left hand. I tried to move it again and everything just fell. I just didn't have any usage of my left side at all," recalled Layton.

Her husband took her to the nearest E.R. at West Feliciana Parish Hospital. There, Baton Rouge based Dr. Acosta was waiting on a high def- video screen to assess her, and successfully guide the staff through treatment.

Using video conference allows doctors to provide more access and timely treatments to patients anywhere.

"Not only are they able to get somewhere closer, but there's data that the sooner you get it, the better the outcome," said Acosta.

As for Layton being treated by a computer:

"I just thank God for it because I feel like West Feliciana Parish Hospital saved my life," said Layton.

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