Dr. Ferdinand K. Hui received the call as headed to his Harbor East home after working out at the gym.
A patient at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda had suffered a stroke and needed a specialized procedure in which a catheter is used to clear the clogged artery in the brain. Dr. Hui doesn't have long. The longer a patient goes without surgery, the more damage to the brain.
About 45 minutes later, Hui, an interventional neuroradiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was aboard a medical helicopter — delivering the specialist to the patient rather than the patient to the specialist.
The approach, which Hopkins doctors call helistroke, is unusual in medicine. Normally stroke...