Mercy Hospital Fort Smith Earns Primary Stroke Center Accreditation

September 22, 2014

Mercy Hospital Fort Smith is proud to announce it has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for certification as a Primary Stroke Center. The title recognizes centers that provide the next generation of stroke care.



“In achieving Joint Commission advanced certification, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its stroke patients,” says Jean Range, executive director of Disease-Specific Care Certification for The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Mercy Fort Smith for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves.”



Mercy Fort Smith provides evaluation and treatment for stroke patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using a team approach that includes emergency department doctors and nurses, neurologists, radiologists, hospitalists and speech and physical therapists all working together to provide the best outcomes for stroke patients.



The hospital also uses a “stroke alert” system to notify key staff when a patient with stroke symptoms arrives at the hospital. These stroke patients are given priority access to CT scanners and the lab to help expedite their care.  



“Stroke is a time-sensitive diagnosis,” says Steve-Felix Belinga, MD, Mercy neurologist. “Time is brain and the sooner you get help, the better the damage can be controlled or even reversed.”



Some of the most common signs of stroke include:



•    Weakness on one side of body

•    Facial droop

•    Slurred speech

•    Double vision/vision loss

•    Severe headache

•    Numbness of arms/legs



“If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more signs or symptoms of stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately,” said Dr. Belinga “Every minute counts, and the sooner you seek medical attention, the sooner we can assess your condition and intervene.”



Mercy Fort Smith’s designation as advanced primary stroke center ensures patients can easily identify the hospital as one of quality that has surpassed numerous goals in the treatment of stroke.



Members of the stroke team at Mercy Fort Smith include:

•    Dr. Steve-Felix Belinga, Stroke Program & Neurology Medical Director

•    Dr. William Knubley, Stroke Neurologist

•    Paula Brosnan, APN, Neurology

•    Dr. Zubin Balsara, Interventional Radiology

•    Dr. Arthur Johnson and Dr. Joseph Queeney, Neurosurgery

•    Janet Canada, APN, Neurosurgery

•    Dr. Steve Nelson, Emergency Department Stroke Liason

•    Dr. Mathew Dupree, Emergency Department Medical Director

•    Dr. Delilah Easom, Hospitalist Group Medical Director

•    Dr. Andre Nolewjka, Cardiology Medical Director

•    Dr. Steven Taylor, Intensivist

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