Gwinnett residents, particularly those people living in northern Gwinnett, have a new option for critical stroke intervention care.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center announced it is now able to provide that intervention care because of the opening of its new Neurointerventional Lab in Gainesville, and the addition of Dr. Sung Lee to its medical team. Those steps, hospital officials said, mean patients who need critical stroke care no longer have to be transferred to other hospitals in the state to receive that care.

“Even though we are grateful for our colleagues in Atlanta, the delay in getting to timely treatment was a real detriment to our community,” said Lee, who is a neurointerventional surgeon with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group as well as NGMC’s medical director of Neurointerventional Surgery. “This is a game-changer for how we not only treat strokes, but it also gives us the ability to perform other complex brain, spinal and vascular procedures. It’s the dawn of a new era of neurological care in Hall County and the surrounding region.”

The new ability to provide stroke intervention care in Hall County instead of transferring patients to hospitals in Atlanta is a big change for Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

In the past, doctors at the Gainesville-based hospital system, which also has a campus in Braselton, could offer patients drugs that break up blood clots, but they could not provide more advanced care.

A big step for the hospital to now be able to provide that advanced care in Gainesville was the opening of the Neurointerventional Lab. It features new technology for dealing with strokes, including equipment to perform mechanical thrombectomies. That is a procedure where a doctor removes blood clots from the brain by using small catheters and wires.

Lee is the only doctor in northeast Georgia who can perform the procedure and the lab is the only one of its kind in the region, Northeast Georgia Medical Center officials said.

He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and did his residency in neurology at the Mayo Clinic, as well as a subspecialty fellowship in neurocritical care and stroke at the University of California in San Francisco. He also did a fellowship at Emory University in neurointerventional radiology.

Lee holds board certifications in neurology, vascular neurology and neurocritical care. He will perform stroke intervention procedures at the lab in addition to seeing patients at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group.

“We’re excited that Dr. Lee is helping lead our stroke team, as we continually push the boundaries to improve our services and make sure patients who come in with stroke symptoms receive the best and quickest treatment possible,” said Holley Adams, Stroke Program coordinator at NGMC Gainesville. “Our community is truly a safer place now that we offer this level of care.”

Northeast Georgia Medical Center officials said anyone who believes they are experiencing symptoms of a stroke — which include balance difficulties, eyesight changes, face drooping, arm weakness and slurred speech — should contact NGPG Neurointerventional Surgery at 770-219-6520 or visit ngpg.org.

Anyone who would like to learn more about stroke care can also visit nghs.com/stroke-care.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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