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Helistroke: Flying doctors to stroke victims may improve outcomes

Helistroke: Flying doctors to stroke victims may improve outcomes

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...

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