MUSC gets national stroke certification

Stroke survivor Byron Malogrides spoke Monday about his 2014 emergency visit to MUSC and saluted the staffers who treated him. Malogrides was one of many who attended the hospital's announcement that it had received a special stroke treatment honor from the Joint Commission. Asberry/Staff

The Medical University of South Carolina’s stroke program received national recognition on Monday for its effort to change South Carolina’s disturbing stroke rate.

MUSC received the Disease-Specific Care Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification, a recognition handed down by the Joint Commission, the American Heart Association and others.

The hospital said it received the recognition for its advanced imaging capabilities and its round-the-clock specialized treatment of stroke, which is the fifth leading cause of death in the nation and in South Carolina.

Across the state, strokes caused 2,385 deaths and 14,517 hospitalizations in 2014, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control. South Carolina is part of a swath of southern states known as the “stroke belt” for their high stroke rates.

One 2014 stroke survivor, local resident Byron Malogrides, took the podium Monday to tell a large group about his emergency visit to MUSC in 2014. He was rushed to the hospital on April 17 after showing symptoms of stroke.

Malogrides said he underwent successful treatment and was discharged on April 19.

“Timing is everything,” he said, while saluting the doctors and nurses who assisted him during his treatment and recovery.

Also in attendance at the certification event were MUSC President David Cole and Christine Holmstedt, co-director of the MUSC Comprehensive Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center.

Cole said MUSC started aggressively addressing stroke about a decade ago. Improvements to the hospital’s facilities were made to provide a high level of stroke care, which is why national organizations are recognizing the hospital for its work, said Cole.

“The certification is the highest recognition of a level of excellence that very few hospitals in the United States have obtained,” he said.

Holmstedt added that the work done in Charleston has been and will continue to be a statewide effort.

“We’re on a mission and we’re not going to stop,” she said. “We’re working to begin prevention clinics and so we’ve built this system across the state to really meet this head-on.”

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry