Proposed Ohio bill would ensure safety plan for EMTs when dealing with stroke patients

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If the bill passes, it would help EMTs figure out which hospital stroke patients should go to

(WKBN) – Strokes kill or disable more people than anything else around the world. Right now, there’s a proposed law to change where ambulances will take stroke patients in Ohio for treatment.

If passed, proposed Bill 302 would help EMTs make a quicker decision on how to help people who have had a stroke.

We all know Ohio is a diverse state. From townships to cities, every hospital has its own ability to treat people who have had a stroke. In rural hospitals, medical staff might not have access to state-of-the-art technology.

If this bill passes, it would help EMTs figure out which hospital stroke patients should go to.

If you have a stroke, getting it treated immediately is crucial to survival and recovery, something Huck Hughs knows all too well. His niece had a stroke when she was just 16 years old.

“Very lucky there was a stroke center five minutes away. They were able to treat her within 10-15 minutes of the onset of the symptoms. If we would have been at home, that would not have happened,” Hughs said.

They had already traveled from rural Columbiana County to Youngstown when the stroke happened.

But, not everyone is so fortunate to be close to an emergency room that can handle a stroke.

“Some hospitals are simply just not set up to deal with certain problems,” said Cleveland Clinic Dr. Peter Rasmussen.

“The bill would require the State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services to develop guidelines for the assessment, triage and transportation of stroke patients to hospitals,” said Senator John Eklund.

Those guidelines would let local EMTs develop plans to determine where stroke patients go.

A previous Ohio law created a three-tier system that ranks hospitals for their ability to treat strokes.

“We’re not good with coming up with medical protocols but we’re good at providing guidance to those to meet the needs of their local communities,” said Rep. Dave Greenspan.

The family of Lauren Hughs is actively supporting the new state guidelines.

“This will keep loved ones with us,” Huck said.

The CDC says one person has a stroke about every 40 seconds. So, while you have been reading this story, three people in America have had a stroke.

The proposed stroke treatment law is Bill 302 in Ohio’s Senate. There is a companion bill in the Statehouse.

This Thursday is World Stroke Day. It’s designed to bring awareness to stroke prevention and treatment.

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