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Stroke Center

State Names Beth Israel Deaconess-Needham as Stroke Center: Local Hospital Meets Rigorous Standards to Save Lives

The state has recognized Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham as a Primary Stroke Center and there is probably no one happier about it than Doris Donoghue.

The 83-year-old Needham resident was rushed to the Emergency Department with stroke symptoms the very December day that state officials were on site assessing the hospital's application to be named a Primary Stroke Center. The designation means the hospital has met rigorous standards ensuring that a multidisciplinary team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide emergency diagnostic and therapeutic services to patients with symptoms of acute stroke.

Gigi Girgis, M.D., director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham stroke service, met Mrs. Donoghue at the Emergency Department as soon as she arrived. Mrs. Donoghue had suffered a second, serious stroke one year to the day after her first, minor stroke. Dr. Girgis quickly determined that Mrs. Donoghue was a good candidate for tissue plasminogen activator (tPa), a clot-busting drug that quickly restores blood flow through blocked arteries. Mrs. Donoghue received the drug within an hour of her arrival at the hospital and within the three-hour window from the time of the stroke in which tPa must be administered. Three days later, she was in a rehabilitation center and on the road to recovery.

"Because of the treatment my mother received at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham," said her son, attorney Jack Donoghue of Dover, "she has made a near-total recovery from stroke within two months. We are dealing with the inconvenience of double vision and a small loss of strength instead of the complete devastation that a serious stroke can cause."

"Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham saved my life," said Mrs. Donoghue.

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham is one of just 33 hospitals in the state that have been named Primary Stroke Centers by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

"This designation is an indicator of the excellent care at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham Emergency Department," said Dr. Girgis. "The stroke program places Massachusetts hospitals in the forefront of the national movement to ensure that patients benefit from the highest standards of clinical care and safety."

Stroke, or "brain-attack," is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and one of the leading causes of disability. Every 45 seconds, an American suffers a stroke. Stroke is a cardiovascular disease that occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot (called ischemic stroke) or bursts (hemorrhagic or bleeding strokes). As a result, part of the brain is deprived of oxygen and starts to die.

Photo: Doris and Jack Donoghue

Contact Information

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham
148 Chestnut Street
Needham, MA 02492