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Sarasota Memorial Recruits Life-Saving Specialist to Hospital Stroke Team

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Nov/10/2008

Dr. Nasser Razack, MDFew medical emergencies draw a finer line between life and death than stroke. And few physician specialists have greater impact on that line than neuro-interventional radiologists.

There are only about 300 neuro-interventional radiologists in the nation, and Sarasota Memorial recently recruited one to its medical staff.

Neuro-interventional Radiologist Nasser Razack, MD, joined Sarasota Memorial in May, replacing Kirk Conrad, MD, who relocated to another state. Razack and others trained in this new and growing field of medicine use specialized tools and minimally invasive techniques to extract dangerous blood clots in the brain, clear its delicate blood vessels of blockages and repair other cerebrovascular abnormalities.

Razack joins a team of neurologists, neurological and vascular surgeons, emergency physicians and rehabilitation specialists at Sarasota Memorial nationally recognized for its advanced stroke protocols and collaboration to provide the best treatment options for patients whose lives are threatened by stroke.

“Stroke is the leading cause of disability in our country and third leading cause of death, which is why it’s critical for patients to receive the most advanced, highest quality of care available,” said Gwen MacKenzie, CEO of Sarasota Memorial. “The skills Dr. Razack provides are so specialized they literally can mean the difference between a full recovery or life-threatening disability.”

Razack, whose practice is based in St. Petersburg, said he was drawn to Sarasota Memorial because of the hospital’s dedication to stroke patients – a commitment that has helped rank the hospital among a select group of “preferred providers” of stroke care in Florida. There are less than a dozen state-certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers in Florida, and Sarasota Memorial is the only one south of St. Petersburg on Florida’s west coast.

That important recognition grants paramedics the discretion to bypass closer hospitals in certain emergency situations and transport patients facing the greatest challenges in stroke care directly to Sarasota Memorial.

Although many stroke patients can be helped with clot-dissolving medication if they are treated within three hours of their first symptom, most do not get to the hospital in time, or they arrive at a hospital that lacks the specialists, equipment and organization to effectively treat them in time.

With its advanced treatments and clinical trials, Sarasota Memorial dramatically broadens the options for stroke patients while extending the window of emergency treatment to eight hours and beyond. Using microcatheters, stents, balloons and other endovascular devices – including the Penumbra System® and Merci® Retrieval System – Dr. Razack can directly target and physically remove blood clots from the brains of stroke patients.

Even with such advanced treatments, however, people need to recognize stroke symptoms for the emergency they are and call 911 or go immediately to the ER, Dr. Razack warns.

Stroke Box“Research is lending new and better tools every day … but time remains a critical factor for stroke treatment,” Dr. Razack said. “Far too many patients dismiss or try to sleep off the symptoms of stroke and don’t get to the hospital fast enough for us to help them.

About Sarasota Memorial Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services. Its 806-bed hospital is Florida’s second largest acute care public hospital. It is the only hospital in the region that has ranked repeatedly among U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals,” the only one recognized among “America’s Safest Hospitals” by Forbes.com and the only one awarded Magnet Nursing Services Recognition – the nation’s highest honor for excellence in nursing.

Media Contact: Kim Savage
Phone: (941) 917-6271

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