Updated: Wednesday, January 22 2014, 03:21 PM EST
There is a three-hour window for stroke patients to get emergency care to reduce the lingering effects of a "brain attack."
As News 13's Jay Siltzer shows us in today's Health Alert, one rural hospital has turned to a robot to improve outcomes.
Otto the robot, controlled by a physician specialist in Asheville, gets in position at McDowell Hospital.
Dr. Rex Henderson, McDowell Emergency Medicine, "it's been a tremendous benefit for us here in the emergency department as well as the patients here in McDowell County."
Denene Crain wasn't doing well one year ago after waking up and getting dressed with a pounding headache.
Denene Crain, patient, "I was almost ready and my vision was off."
Anson Crain, Denene's husband, "given her and her tolerant (sic) for pain, I knew she had to go to the hospital at that time."
Dr. Henderson, "patient comes in, we arrange a very rapid CT Scan of the head to see if we can see a stroke or hemorrhage. While we are getting that scan done, a neurologist at Mission is contacted, beams in on the robot and is basically waiting when the patient returns from the CT Scan."
What did they find in Denene Crain? "That I had a blood clot in the brain that had caused a stroke."
Instantly, neurologist Reid Taylor on the other end of the robot knew Denene should not receive clot-busting medication because she's on blood thinner. Many times, though, patients do receive orders from the specialist.
Dr. Henderson, "the medicine is started here, then they are transferred to Mission Hospital in Asheville."
Dr. Reid Taylor, Mission neurologist, "the preliminary indication is that we are using emergency stroke therapy better."
Resulting in quicker treatment for patients with better recovery and less lingering paralysis.
Some 60 stroke patients at McDowell Hospital have taken part in tele-medicine and about 20 of them received clot-busting medication.