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WATCH: How Robots in Exam Rooms Save Lives

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For Judy Buck, a typical Saturday morning turned into an encounter with a robot. That’s right… a robot.

As Judy sat her kitchen table preparing the grocery list, her eyes started watering and the left side of her became heavy.  She called to her husband who was outside and together they drove to Baylor Medical Center at Irving’s emergency department.

Thanks to the robot, a telemedicine service between Baylor Irving and Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, a stroke specialist from downtown Dallas beamed into the Baylor Irving exam room via a robot’s TV screen.

Think of a telemedicine robot as a new kind of house call. The doctor doesn’t even need a car but instead uses an iPad mini with the software to access patients. Dr. Dion Graybeal, medical director of Baylor’s spoke-and-hub telemedicine system, explained how Baylor’s telemedicine works.

Judy’s encounter with the robot had a happy ending. Dr. Graybeal and the emergency department physician examined her and determined she was having a stroke.  She’s back home, and now an advocate for stroke awareness at her job and church. Thanks to the availability of Dr. Graybeal via the robot, Judy received tPA, a clot-busting drug that reduced the effects of her stroke.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability, according to the National Stroke Association.  But, up to 90 percent of strokes can be prevented by implementing some simple lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, eliminating use of tobacco products and moderate use of alcohol.

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To understand the risk, take this eight-question quiz: www.strokequiz.com.

Some risk factors, such as family history, individuals can’t change; nevertheless, there are risk factors that can be modify.  And, although the risk of a stroke is higher among older individuals, younger people in their 40s and 50s can have stroke, too.

A stroke is also called a brain attack. “Unfortunately with stroke, time is brain since about 1.9 million neurons are lost with every minute of lack of blood flow,” says Dr. Graybeal. So it’s wise to know the symptoms of a stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any of these symptoms.

 

About the author

Susan Hall
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Susan joined Baylor many years ago when Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the only Baylor facility in the area. When not at work, she’s outside – Big Bend National Park is her favorite with Glacier National Park a close second.

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WATCH: How Robots in Exam Rooms Save Lives