Mobile stroke unit now available for South Elgin patients

Northwestern Medicine and the South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District have teamed up to bring life-saving care to stroke patients through a mobile stroke unit.

Under the agreement, paramedics would transport stroke victims to a predesignated parking lot, about halfway between South Elgin and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, where a staffed mobile stroke unit would be waiting.

The patient would undergo initial testing, including a CT scan, and initial treatment in the mobile stroke unit before being transferred to the hospital for additional tests and treatment.

Hospital officials say the mobile unit, which first started serving the immediate area around Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in 2017, provides life-saving treatment about 30 minutes faster than traditional ambulance transport.

“The earlier you treat the patient, the better their outcome,” said Harish Shownkeen, medical director of the stroke and neurointerventional surgery programs at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. “Patients who get treated right away often go home from the hospital instead of to a nursing home or rehabilitation.”

The South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District serves a 24-square-mile area with nearly 30,000 residents.

“This unit brings the treatment to the patient, providing a direct connection with a neurologist who can identify and confirm or deny if a patient is experiencing a stroke,” South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District Chief William Luchsinger said.

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