"Technology saved my life!"
By: Audra Mincey
Leroy Luraschi wouldn’t consider himself a "tech-savvy" person but someone who occasionally likes to surf the web or play a game on his home computer. Leroy was doing just that one evening at his Montrose home when all of a sudden he felt an unexpected sensation in his head. "It felt like something broke. I felt like someone was poking something through my eye," he explains.
Leroy got up from his computer, walked into his bedroom and collapsed onto the floor. "All I remember is my 19-year old son Jacob running into the room, he called 9-1-1," says Leroy. Paramedics took Leroy to Montrose Memorial Hospital. Immediately upon arrival to the emergency room Leroy says he knew he was having a stroke. "I couldn’t talk or move my whole right side," he explains. Staff at Memorial Hospital dialed in Swedish Medical Center Neurologist Dr. Chris Fanale by tele-medicine technology and he was up on a screen within minutes ready to consult with doctors about Leroy. "It’s pretty wild that there was a specialist hundreds of miles away in Denver helping me in the ER," says Leroy.
Leroy was transferred shortly after to Swedish Medical Center in Denver by helicopter where he was assessed in person by Dr. Fanale and the stroke team. According to Dr. Fanale, "stroke can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Stroke does not discriminate with age. Being close to a certified stroke center or a hospital with telemedicine capabilities allows you to get stroke treatment rapidly and efficiently. Sometimes patients in non-urban communities need a higher level of care due to the severity and complicated nature of their strokes. At Swedish Medical Center, we have the multidisciplinary team with the stroke specialists that can care for patients such as these on a 24/7/365 basis. The quicker we can treat, the better the outcome. We can only do that with seamless clinical collaboration between hospitals, as was displayed in the care of this patient."
Leroy, who is 49-years old, didn’t expect he’d ever have a stroke. "I was completely caught off guard that I was having a stroke. But I’m so glad that I had the Swedish stroke team right there with me. They made my life worth living again and they sure know what they’re doing!" says Leroy.