LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett Medical Center this week received a statewide award for its care of stroke patients.
GMC was awarded the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry Door to Needle Time Award because it met a 20 percent decrease goal in the time patients enter the hospital and receive care.
Susan Gaunt, GMC's program coordinator and a clinical nurse specialist, said every minute during a stroke, brain processing cells are lost.
"So time is really brain," Gaunt said in a news release. "That is why it is critical to call 911 if you think you are having a stroke."
The award was named in honor of the late Senator Paul Coverdell, who died of a massive stroke. The Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry has identified 60 minutes as the "golden hour" that hospitals evaluate and determine treatment for stroke patients.
GMC was one of nine hospital systems in the state to achive the 60-minute door-to-needle level of stroke care.
A clot-busting drug called tPA can potentially minimize or reverse the effect of a stroke, GMC spokeswoman Beth Okun said.
"Time matters because tPA is effective only within the first three hours from when the stroke begins," Gaunt said.
Gaunt said beginning on Friday, GMC and Gwinnett County Emergency Medical Services are partnering to improve door to needly time by initiating a new process that will begin when EMS arrives.
About 50 to 70 of the 11,000 patients GMC-Duluth and GMC-Lawrenceville see each month are diagnosed with a stroke.