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Crozer Health Opens Region’s Only Emergency Department for Neurologic Emergencies


By Mary Wascavage

Crozer Health and the highly specialized physicians of Global Neurosciences Institute (GNI) have paired up to bring a dedicated neurologic emergency department (Neuro ED) to Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland.

Part of the newly created Crozer Health Neurosciences Institute, this new service will greatly expand Crozer Health ’s capabilities to treat neurologic emergencies such as stroke, aneurysm, head trauma, seizure and much more. This type of specialized ED is not available anywhere else in the Philadelphia region.

At Crozer, a section of the ED is set aside exclusively to treat patients with neurologic disorders. It is led by Karen Greenberg, D.O., director of the Neurologic Emergency Department. Staffing consists of a specially trained emergency medicine physician who works alongside nurses, medics andtechnicians who have also received advanced training. This, Greenberg says, is just one facet that sets Crozer Health ’s Neuro ED apart from other area general emergency departments.

“It’s a completely different model of care that focuses on speed and urgency,” Greenberg says. “When we get notice from the field that a stroke patient is on their way to our ED, we meet them at the ambulance bay to do a rapid assessment. It’s literally zero minutes waiting time.”

Patients put their lives in Greenberg’s and her team’s hands, and to good effect. Not only does she perform life-saving interventions in the Neuro ED, but as a member of GNI she routinely participates in clinical trials and continuing education.

Greenberg also is an accomplished researcher. A recent peer-reviewed study, coauthored with three of her colleagues, investigated the effectiveness of treating stroke patients with a clot-busting medication in a Neuro ED. Citing the Brain Attack Coalition, which suggests that the medication is most effective when given 60 minutes or less from the time a patient arrives in the ED, Greenberg and her associates proved that their protocol for treating stroke patients produced better patient outcomes and a higher incidence of discharge to home. In fact, GNI’s Neuro ED concept is associated with a far lower “door-to-needle” time than the recommended 60 minutes, averaging closer to 35 minutes.

Greenberg credits her colleague and GNI founder, Erol Veznedaroglu, M.D., with the pioneering concept that has saved many people from severe disability or death. Crozer Health recognized the program’s uniqueness and capabilities. As a result, the health system quickly transformed a portion of Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s ED into a neurologic-specific unit – one of only a handful in the country. “I’m very excited to be a part of this initiative,” Greenberg says.

She adds that in the short time the Neuro ED has been in operation, she has seen patients with varying needs. Some stroke patients responded well to the clot-busting medication while others needed a more advanced form of urgent surgical intervention. GNI has the largest group of specialized vascular neurosurgeons in the region, and they are on-call and accessible 24/7 to provide just these types of advanced services.

What is a neurological emergency? Greenberg says that if you are experiencing symptoms of a stroke – or witness them in someone else – or are having the worst headache of your life, then you should get to the Neuro ED at Crozer right away. Typical stroke symptoms include sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, confusion or trouble speaking, weakness on one side of the body, or trouble walking.

Other conditions treated in the Neuro ED include seizure and traumatic brain injury. Because the unit is so highly specialized, Greenberg says that she and her team are able to focus solely on neurologic complaints – and provide dedicated time and attention to treat them.

To learn more about the Crozer Health Neurosciences Institute (CKNI), or to schedule an appointment with a CKNI neurologist, neurosurgeon or endovascular surgeon, call 1-866-NEURO-DR (1-866-638-7637) or visit the Neurosciences webpage.

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