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First Responders Tour Crozer Health’s New Comprehensive Stroke Center for Complex Cases in Philadelphia


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Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and paramedics from the Philadelphia region got an exclusive tour of Crozer-Chester Medical Center's new Comprehensive Stroke Center recently. The group learned about several aspects of the center’s service, from transportation to diagnosis and treatment.

The first of its kind in Delaware County, Pa., the stroke center is part of the Crozer Neurosciences Center of Excellence, operated by Global Neurosciences Institute, through a partnership with Crozer Health.

Fewer than 200 hospitals in the country qualify for a comprehensive certification, because they have to be able to treat the most complex stroke cases, officials told The SPIRIT. The certification was recently awarded to Crozer-Chester Medical Center from The Joint Commission.

Dr. Karen Greenberg, Director of Crozer Health’s neurologic emergency department (NED), explained to the audience of EMS colleagues that her team has refined door-to-needle time to as fast as 11 minutes, referring to the time it takes a patient to receive the clot-busting drug known as tPA. National guidelines from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recommend tPA be administered within 60 minutes of emergency department arrival time for 80 percent of patients.

Patients who need a comprehensive stroke center are often flown or ambulance-driven from other hospitals that are typically designated as primary stroke centers. EMS squads communicate with Crozer Health’s team when they are in transit, so the stroke team can prepare in advance of arrival.

“Your pre-hospital alert is how I’m getting those great door-to-needle times and how we’re meeting quality metrics,” Dr. Greenberg told the tour participants. “Your advanced warning has me and my team ready so we can shave off 10 to 15 minutes, which is essential to better outcomes.”

Tour Provides EMS with Critical Understanding

Crozer Health’s EMS Chief Bruce Egan said the recent tour of the stroke center was valuable for his team so they could better understand how critical their participation is for patients with the most complex strokes.

He explained that while EMS teammates sometimes get to witness CT scans for neurological disease, they usually do not get to see other aspects of care. He said he could see how this is a real partnership on behalf of patients with stroke.

Dr. Egan said having a comprehensive stroke center so close to home for Delaware County communities means a lot. Neighbors now realize that the hospital in their backyard has a level of care that is rare across the whole country. “Any one of our family members could be having a serious stroke and here we are within minutes of advanced treatment. We’re very lucky to have this.”