As stroke survivors, Emergency Room physicians play an important part in our survival and rapid treatment, but we often don't think about them. We build ongoing clinical relationships with our neurologists, physiatrists, OTs, PTs, Speech Therapists. Rehab nurses, CNAs, and more, but not the ER docs. When they see us, our brains are in full crisis/panic mode, our loved ones are terrified, and the doctors are busy making rapid assessments, decisions, and referrals. By the time we get a chance to calm down and assess our new landscape, they are long gone and have transitioned off our care team.
That's one reason I enjoyed talking with Dr. Kimberly Brown. It was a chance to get some insight into a field I knew little about.
Among the things I found interesting was how she talk about the impact of technology in medical education -- listening to a heart murmur on the computer during school work and later tying that into the real world in listening on an actual patient.
We also talk about the role of ER Pharmacists, the role Methodist University Hospital has had in treating folks with the clot busting drug tPA, and some of the challenges around public health.
We do have some discussion of the politics of healthcare in this episode. Regardless of how you feel about the Affordable Care Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the future of Medicare and Medicaid, the political decisions around these programs will directly affect the lives of millions of stroke survivors and potential survivors in the US, and it's important to be aware of what's going on and express your views to your elected officials.
We reference the FAST signs for stroke. If you're not familiar with them they are:
We also talk about sepsis or being septic. Sepsis can be the result of the body's attempt to fight an infection. Basically, the infection results in the body dumping an excess of chemicals into the blood stream to fight the infection, but it instead leads to inflammation in other organs. Symptoms of sepsis can sometimes mirror stroke. Sepsis is a life threatening condition.
Fortunately whether you come into the ER with Sepsis or Stroke, folks like Dr. Kimberly Brown are there to take care of you.
Dr. Kimberly Brown is an emergency physician in Memphis, Tennessee. She is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and earned her undergraduate degree from Fisk University. Loving warmer weather, Dr. Brown earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Florida in Public Health Management and Policy. She attended Ross University School of Medicine and recently completed her emergency medicine residency as a member of the inaugural graduating class of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Brown’s clinical interests include neurologic emergencies, critical care, sepsis, and education. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, watching too much reality tv and trying new restaurants.
Dr. Brown serves patients in the Stroke Belt of the US. This is the region of the country that since the early 60s has had a significantly higher about of stroke patients and higher mortality from stroke than the rest of the country. It includes:
When you arrive at the ER, especially as a previous stroke survivor or person with disabilities. It's important to provide the team with as much information as possible. The need to know about the medications (legal AND illegal) you are taking, any previous stroke or medical issues, what disabilities you already had, and more.
Any video or recent photos of you prior to this incident can also be extremely helpful to the staff so they can get a better sense of what's changed.
November is National Caregivers Month. These people make a huge difference in our lives, and it's important to recognize and thank them for their support. One way to support caregivers is to read Dr. Kate Lorig's book "Building Better Caregivers." I talked with the author back in episode 19 at http://strokecast.com/kate.
Larry Benitez is one of my colleagues from a professional networking group. He's also a banjo player who volunteers at the Old Friends Club in the Seattle area. The Old Friends Club support folks with Alzheimer's and Dementia.
Larry recently recorded a song dedicated to care givers. You can learn more about it here. Or just watch the video below. Be sure to comment on and like the video over on YouTube, too.
Dr. Kimberly Brown's Website
Dr. Kimberly Brown's Email
Dr. Kimberly Brown's Facebook
Dr. Kimberly Brown's Instagram
Dr. Kimberly Brown's Twitter
Chronicles of Women in White Coats
Methodist University Hospital Emergency Medicine
Stroke belt on Wikipedia
Sepsis on Wikipedia
FAST from the American Heart Association
Strokecast Episode 19: Meet Dr. Kate Lorig
Old Friends Club
Larry's Song on YouTube
Larry's post on LinkedIn