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Washington County Health System
  Stroke Center



Samina Anwar, MD neurologist and medical director of the Washington County Hospital stroke center, evaluates a stroke patient during recovery.

Washington County Hospital recently received Primary Stroke Center accreditation from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). The hospital joins a select group of healthcare providers in Maryland who have received this designation. MIEMSS based its findings on an onsite review of stroke care and data submitted by the hospital, including clinical protocols and procedures that treat and manage stroke.

The five-year certification means that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will bring patients who are within a thirty minute drive and who have had stroke symptoms for less than three hours to Washington County Hospital for treatment, rather than taking them to another, non-certified healthcare provider.

When it comes to care for stroke patients, every second counts, so the hospital’s stroke team have a the clinical procedure for stroke patients as soon as they arrive at the hospital. The key is to evaluate stroke patients in the emergency department (ED) within ten minutes of arrival, have a CT (computed tomography) scan within twenty-five minutes of the CT order being written, and have lab test results within forty-five minutes. 

According to Dr. Samina Anwar, medical director of the stroke center, the goal is to get a medication called recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to appropriate patients within the first three hours following the onset of a stroke. This drug is a clot-busting medication, which means it effectively dissolves the blood clot causing the stroke, thus stopping the stroke in its tracks.

Stroke patients who are admitted from the ED are moved to the hospital’s stroke unit.  Washington County Hospital admits about 500 stroke patients per year. There are forty nurses in the stroke center and all are specially trained to care for stroke patients.

The stroke team also includes two stroke care specialists to coordinate the care provided to stroke patients during their hospital stay, and provide education to patients and their family members about stroke. The stroke care specialists also make follow-up telephone calls to stroke patients at their homes after discharge from the hospital to ensure they understand their risk factors and how they can prevent another stroke in the future. 

“We have a fully equipped and trained stroke team that follows proven protocols of care to ensure that stroke patients receive the care they deserve,” says Dr. Anwar. “Although the MIEMSS certification confirms our status as a leader in stroke care, we will never stop striving for excellence. Our patients can take comfort in the fact that they will continue to receive the best care for stroke available.”


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Washington County Health System
251 East Antietam Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740

TDD: 1-800-735-2258