Tulane Health System’s acclaimed Tulane Expert teleConsulting– or TEC – network is now supporting Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home in Poplarville, Mississippi, providing patients and caregivers there with 24-hour, on-call access to Tulane’s stroke and neuroscience experts for acute stroke consultation. 

Using the TEC system, physicians at Pearl River can communicate via a two-way, live video, audio and image-sharing system with stroke neurologists from Tulane Health System. Those experts can evaluate the patient in real time to diagnose a stroke and work with local physicians to determine the best treatment options.

“I am looking forward to working with Tulane Health System’s stroke and neuroscience team to assist our emergency room providers in evaluating patients that may be having a stroke,” said Dr. William F. McArthur, Pearl River County Hospital’s chief medical officer. “The technology and expertise provided by the Tulane Expert TeleConsulting Network will help our patients receive care much faster and ensure they have a seamless transfer for definitive care for a stroke or other brain injury.  

“Time is critical in a stroke situation, and this partnership will significantly improve patient outcomes.” 

According to the American Stroke Association, approximately 795,000 strokes occur in the United States each year. Stroke is the country’s fifth-leading cause of death and its leading cause of adult disability. These numbers have decreased in recent years because of greater patient awareness of stroke symptoms and improved access to stroke care and experts through programs like telemedicine, said Dr. Aimee Aysenne, a neurologist with the Tulane Neuroscience Center and one of the stroke experts who consults with TEC’s partner facilities.

“This is a personal passion for me,” Dr. Aysenne said. “I’m from a rural part of Louisiana, and I know my parents would be hours away from the care they’d need if not for something like this. For best outcomes, a stroke has to be identified – and treatment has to begin – within three hours. Time is critical, and this technology helps stroke experts connect with rural hospitals and their patients in just a few moments.”

Tulane’s stroke program was the first in New Orleans to be certified by the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, representing its ability to care for the most complex stroke cases. The American Heart Association has awarded the Tulane stroke program its “Gold Plus” recognition, and Tulane is the first in the state to receive its “Target: Stroke Honor Roll – Elite Plus” award, the highest achievement level possible. The Tulane Neuroscience Center provides a full range of adult and pediatric services – from stroke care to neurosurgery, neurology and neuroimaging – which offer a full continuum of care should patients need to be transferred because of highly complex or advanced cases.

Pearl River County Hospital joins Our Lady of the Angels Hospital in Bogalusa, Louisiana, as the seventh and eighth hospitals in the Gulf South region to join the TEC network. Other member hospitals include Louisiana facilities Hood Memorial Hospital in Amite, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in Lake Charles, Prevost Memorial Hospital in Donaldsonville, Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria and Riverside Medical Center in Franklinton, as well as Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport, Mississippi.

“Telemedicine lets us reach into a community, connect with providers there and let them consult with a stroke expert immediately. Of course, technology can only go so far – people need to know stroke symptoms, and get to a hospital as quickly as they can if a stroke is suspected,” said Dr. Justin Salerian, a neurologist and the director of the Tulane stroke program. “We teach the acronym F.A.S.T: Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, Time is critical. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, call 911 immediately.”

To learn more, please visit our stroke page.