For a stroke patient, every second counts.
Murray S. Flaster, M.D., joined LG Health as Stroke Program Director after more than 20 years of developing stroke expertise in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Chicago.
Stroke Program Director Murray Flaster, M.D., Ph.D., said Lancaster General Health’s team has the ability to successfully screen and treat stroke locally, leading to a better care experience for patients and less strain on families.
“Time is a crucial factor when treating stroke,” said Dr. Flaster, who came to LG Health in February, after more than 20 years of developing stroke expertise in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Chicago. “Our ability to treat most stroke patients here is rather unique for a community hospital.”
A New York City native and graduate of City College of New York, Dr. Flaster earned a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from Columbia University. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed his internship, residency and fellowship at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital.
In Phoenix, Dr. Flaster led the Barrow Neurological Institute’s acute stroke and neuro-hospitalist programs. He started the University of Nevada’s stroke program, then led the telestroke program and outpatient clinics at Loyola University in Chicago.
“Lancaster is actually a community with a lot of stroke in it,” he said, perhaps due to the large number of retirement communities. “Loyola has five stroke experts and about the same number of strokes. I thought this was an excellent next step for me.”
Working closely with the Medical Staff, as well as Penn Medicine experts, Dr. Flaster has implemented several protocol changes, including a new approach to treating hemorrhagic stroke. He and physicians from Neurological Associates of Lancaster cover the Emergency Department around the clock.
“When you try to build something new, you have to get people at the same table and pull together,” he said. “The level of cooperation is absolutely exceptional here. I’ve never seen anything better.”
Many community hospitals routinely send patients to larger “hub” hospitals for stroke treatment. LG Health has the training, expertise, equipment and other resources to treat most patients locally – along with the ability to accurately determine when a patient should go to another hospital, Dr. Flaster said.
“The ability to quickly and properly assess patients locally is critical,” he said. “We are able to do that with complete confidence, which many community hospitals can’t do.”
Physicians from the ED, neurology and radiology work together to initiate the clot-dissolving tPA treatment within an hour – or even a half-hour – of a patient’s arrival. LG Health’s team also is now able to quickly to determine which patients might benefit from mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure used to retrieve clots from the brain.
“Now, thanks to advances in imaging, we can tell if the clot is in a treatable position in less than 10 minutes,” Dr. Flaster said. “LG Health patients now get the same diagnostic level of expertise that they would get in any comprehensive stroke center in the United States.”