Franklin, North Carolina is a town with just 4,000 residents, located on the historic Appalachian Trail in the southwest corner of the state. The town is famous for its gem mining, including rubies and sapphires. But this community has found something far more valuable: a life-saving connection to the Mission Health telestroke network.
Mission Health reached a major milestone recently when Dr. Alex Schneider, the program director in Asheville, used a remote presence robot dubbed “IC4U” to conduct the network’s 100th telestroke consultation. The patient was at a facility in Franklin, a 90-minute drive from the hub hospital. Without access to a telestroke network, that patient would have lost 180 million brain cells just getting to Asheville.
The American Stroke Association estimates that only 3 to 5 percent of those who suffer a stroke reach the hospital in time to be candidates for thrombolytic treatment. But the Mission Health program has an astounding 43 percent success rate.
“Treating our 100th telestroke patient represents a momentous milestone for Mission Health,” says Schneider. “It’s evidence of the strides we are making in bringing timely, expert care to rural neighborhoods throughout western North Carolina.”
In its long history, Franklin, North Carolina has been home to Cherokee Indian councils and colonial era gem miners. But no sapphire discovery can compare to a program that offers Franklin residents an eight-fold greater chance of receiving timely t-PA treatment.