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Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU)

By COLUMBUS DIVISION OF FIRE, Correspondent | May 20, 2021 | OHIO

Story No. 052021105

The Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU) is a collaboration of the Columbus Division of Fire, Mt. Carmel, OhioHealth, and The Ohio State University Health systems that was put together to more rapidly bring definitive care to stroke patients.

A stroke is a medical emergency. Symptoms of stroke include trouble walking, speaking, and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg.

This unit started taking runs in late May 2019. The crew has the training and tools on board to perform CT scans (sometimes called CAT scans) to determine type of stroke (bleeding or blockage) and if appropriate, beginning treatment with tPA or TNK to treat strokes related to a clot in the brain’s circulation.

This is one of only about 20 such programs in the United States. Through April, the program has evaluated some 1600 stroke patients and has been able to treat over 350 patients prior to arrival to the hospital. In a medical emergency where seconds equal brain cells, this specialty unit is helping Columbus residents by minimizing brain damage due to lack of blood and oxygen to the brain.

The four-person crews consist of two CFD Firefighter/Paramedics with advanced training for the MSTU, one Advanced Practicing Provider such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant and a CT Technician.

The crew pictured (L to R): John Ford, CT Tech; FF/P William Longenette; FF/P Michael Warnimont and Corbin Willis, P.A.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.