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Your Healthy Family: Kristin Buchanan takes charge on the Mobile - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Kristin Buchanan takes charge on the Mobile Stroke Unit team

Kristin Buchanan, is a registered nurse who splits time in Colorado Springs between the emergency room at UCHealth Memorial, and the MSTU when it’s on duty in the Springs Kristin Buchanan, is a registered nurse who splits time in Colorado Springs between the emergency room at UCHealth Memorial, and the MSTU when it’s on duty in the Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS -

Hopefully one of the things people know is that when it comes to treating a stroke, time is brain.  The biggest factor that usually determines how positive a person’s outcome from a stroke, is how quickly it’s treated.  For that reason, calling 911 when the symptoms of a stroke hit is the most important thing you can do for yourself or a loved one.

The easiest way to remember the symptoms of a stroke, is to know “BE FAST”.

B - Balance

E - Eyesight

F - Facial drooping

A - Arm weakness  

S - Slurred speech  

T - Time to call 911

UCHealth’s Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit is one way that medical professionals can begin stroke treatment faster, if they are dispatched.  The MSTU, as it’s also known, not only carries special equipment and medication on board that a regular ambulance has, but it also has specially trained medical professionals on board.

Kristin Buchanan is a registered nurse who splits time in Colorado Springs between the emergency room at UCHealth Memorial, and the MSTU when it’s on duty in the Springs every other week.  Kristin says her medical background and training go beyond specializing in stroke.  It’s a mix that suits her perfectly as a charge nurse on the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit.  

"I started out in EMS, 10 years ago I was an EMT working in the field.  Then I went toward the emergency room and became a nurse.  They are two completely different worlds, and now I'm in a position where I'm combining the two worlds of being EMS plus a critical care nurse."

During a stroke when minutes and seconds count, the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit brings the capabilities of the emergency room, and medical staff with the proper training to the patient.

Kristin says, "Every minute there are 2 million brain cells being lost when someone is having a stroke.  Being at someone's home you really can make a difference, because the sooner they have that CT scan scan to determine what kind of stroke it is, the sooner they can get the medication TPA, (tissue plasminogen activator) and the time they suffer a stroke, can determine their outcome and the disabilities they may have.”

Kristin says she has seen the difference working on the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit can make in a patient’s recovery from a stroke.  "We had a patient who was clearly having a stroke, and it was determined she was a candidate to have the TPA.  When we arrived on scene she had a fixed gaze, just looking one way, and she couldn’t track my finger moving.  She received TPA in the (Mobile Stroke Treatment) unit, and by the time we pulled up at the hospital I did a quick assessment, I said ‘can you follow my finger’ and she could follow it.  I could see the difference in her, just in a 10 minute transport, that the clot was resolving and she was getting better.”

The ability to perform a CT scan in the Mobile Stroke Unit is another key that makes it so effective.  In our next story we’ll meet one of the techs who works on the Mobile Stroke Unit  and never dreamed she would be using her medical skills in an ambulance.

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