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Atlanta Legal Nurse Consultant Hears Stroke Center Coordinator Speak


Atlanta, Georgia – Atlanta legal nurse consultant Liz Buddenhagen, RN attended the Athens Area Chapter of the Georgia Nurses Association meeting on March 21, 2011 to hear Shelley Nichols, MSN, RN-BC speak.

Nichols, of St. Mary’s Hospital, presented “Primary Stroke Center Certification: People, Protocols, and Performance Improvement.” Both St. Mary’s and Athens Regional Medical Center are certified stroke centers in Athens, Georgia.

About Stroke:

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to, and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by, or a clot bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood, and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die.

Each year about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies of stroke on an average, every 4 minutes.

Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

In the past, there were not effective treatment options for people suffering a stroke, but in recent years, there has been a clot busting drug that can be given in certain cases to prevent disability, and massive injury.

Of utmost importance is getting the stroke victim to a primary stroke center immediately. The drug can only be given within 3 hours from the witnessed onset of symptoms. The emergency department staff will assess the patient to make sure there are no reasons they cannot receive the drug – and there are some “contraindications.”

Community education is a key component, and is crucial to improve stroke outcomes. Many people do not know the warning signs of stroke, and the importance of calling 911 right away. Check the time the symptoms started, and provide the time to the emergency medical service.

Signs of Stroke:

Stroke is an emergency – every minute counts.


Face - facial droop, uneven smile

Arm - arm numbness or weakness

Speech - slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding

Time - call 911 and get to the hospital immediately.

Warning signs can also include: sudden confusion, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, sudden severe headache with no known cause.

This information is from the American Stroke Association,, 1-888-4-STROKE and National Stroke Association,, 1-800-STROKES.

About the Atlanta legal nurse consultant:

Liz Buddenhagen is a registered nurse, and certified legal nurse consultant with critical clinical thinking skills applied to assisting Atlanta attorneys with their medically-related cases.

Please view for more information, email or call 770-725-2997.


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