Earlier this year both hospitals took delivery of a new telemedicine stroke machine, which not only provides stroke services but can also be used by consultants based anywhere in the world to assess local patients.
Initially the machines will be used to link the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the hospitals with some of the major hospitals in the country which will allow for critically ill patients to remain in the ICU at both Portiuncula & Castlebar while under the care of some of the top specialists in their field.
“This is a major step forward because instead of patients having to wait to get a specialist ICU bed in some of the bigger centres, they can remain in their local hospital with access to the best medical advice and the care of the local expert ICU staff,” explained Denis Naughten.
“The machine in question, Teledoc (TRASNA ) stroke machine, will over time transform the way we provide medicine in our level 3 hospitals, and has the ability to ensure that these hospitals have one of the best emergency stroke services in the world.”
This new machine is one of seven which, until exposed by Deputy Naughten, remained in storage for a number of years in a warehouse in Cork waiting to be rolled out by the HSE to hospitals throughout the country.
“The importance of this machine to the hospital cannot be underestimated, particularly since the loss of our stroke consultant at Portiuncula Hospital in March 2013 and due to the long transfer distances for criticall ill patients in Mayo General to University Hospital, Galway,” said Deputy Naughten.
“For every minute that stroke treatment is delayed, a victim loses two million brain cells. This results in local patients losing significant brain function while they travel in the ambulances between hospitals and then spending longer in hospital. They are also more likely to require long-term nursing home care,” concluded Deputy Naughten.