One of the country's only mobile stroke units is right here in the Bay Area at Mills Peninsula Medical Center in Burglingame.

KCBS Radio

Unique Ambulance Offers Hope For Stroke Victims

Mike Colgan
October 01, 2018 - 7:15 am

BURLINGAME — A state-of-the-art ambulance at Mills Peninsula hospital is raising hopes that better treatment for stroke victims is coming right around the corner. 

From the outside, it looks like a typical ambulance, but the mobile stroke unit from Sutter Health's hospital here in Burlingame has a crucial difference. It comes equipped with a CT scan that in just a couple of minutes can assess a patient's condition and determine if it's safe to administer medication. 

With the loss of two million brain cells per minute during a stroke, bringing the CT scan to the patient, rather than vice-versa, can have a huge impact on outcomes

"The faster we can administer a clot-dissolving medication, the more brain cells that we can save and the better the patient is going to do," said Dr. Joey English, the medical director of the neurological intervention program. 

The mobile stoke unit is the first of its kind in Northern California. There are only seven of the $2-million units in the country. 

Stroke a leading cause of disability and "one of the top five cause of mortality" in the country, according to Dr. Ilana Spokoyny.

"What we want to know and what we're looking for in the community is how can we improve the outcomes for our community and the patients we care for," Spokoyny said.