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Stroke Patient Stories: Chris Tanning

By: Audra Mincey

"It was reassuring to have the doctor right there with me even though I was hundreds of miles away!"

Chris Tanning, Stroke Telemedicine PatientGunnison, Colorado resident Chris Tanning (pictured right) is well aware of the warning signs related to stroke. She suffered a minor one two years ago. Chris was rushed to Gunnison Valley Hospital where she was treated and released. "It was a very freighting time for me. After being released from the hospital I needed additional testing with a specialist so I had to drive to Denver to receive it. Thankfully, I fully recovered," explains Chris.

RP-Lite Technology for Stroke Assessment

Since the time of Chris's stroke, Gunnison Valley Hospital has implemented new technology into their facility which would make it easier for stroke patients to correspond with specialists in Denver. Little did Chris know that she would be one of the first patients to use this technology called the RP-Lite. RP-Lite is a remote device that allows physicians to perform comprehensive real-time consults with hospital patients. "The RP-Lite technology has allowed us to assess the patient quickly, which leads to better patient outcomes. This technology allows for 72% of patients who are assessed with the RP-Lite to be treated and stay in their communities. We strive every day to take the best care of all our stroke patients, regardless of the distance," says Dr. Chris Fanale, HealthONE Stroke and CO-DOC Medical Director.

Chris Experiences a Second Stroke Scare

Earlier this year Chris experienced pre-stroke symptoms and again was rushed to the hospital. "I had arm numbness, vertigo, a migraine, severe chills; I thought I was having another stroke," says Chris. This time around her experience in the ER was much different than from two years ago. Within minutes she had a quick series of tests and lab work, a high-field short-bore MRI and MRA and was face-to-face with stroke specialist Dr. Judd Jensen from Swedish Medical Center in Denver. "I was very impressed with the technology! For the doctor to be able to interact with me in real-time was very impressive!"

"The greatest advantage is having the ability to talk to the patient and their family members and ask questions that can determine an accurate diagnosis in order for them to get rapid treatment," says Dr. Judd Jensen, Swedish Stroke Neurologist.

Fortunately, Chris was not having a stroke. "I had instant reassurance it wasn't a stroke!" says Chris. Her symptoms were caused by something less onerous and she was relieved to have her diagnosis so quickly. "This technology is amazing. It was an emotional relief to have that interaction with the doctor and to hear I was going to be just fine!"

Learn more about Swedish's CO-DOC Stroke Telemedicine Program