Allery Treatment News

Letters Respond to Wall Street Journal Story on Emergency Care for People with Strokes

June 13, 2017

The Wall Street Journal on Friday published two letters to the editor in response to a May 9 report on efforts to improve emergency treatment of strokes in hospitals, including support for a regional system that would establish at least one hospital specialized in stroke care in every population center and new stroke treatments... (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 5/9). Summaries of the letters appear below.

Robert Suter, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians: "The American College of Emergency Physicians, on behalf of its 23,000 members, asks the Journal to 'show us the data,'" Suter writes, adding that the article "cherry picks stories of patients with tragic outcomes, when thousands of patients receive excellent stroke care in the nation's emergency departments." According to Suter, "the focus should be to extend excellent stroke care to all Americans," rather than focus on "a particular therapy ... or a particular destination" for treatment. He notes, "While the emergency physician's role is critical in the chain of care of a stroke patient, narrow focus on just that link ... is shortsighted" (Suter, Wall Street Journal, 5/27).

Brian Zachariah, director of the University of Texas Division of Emergency Medicine: The Journal article is "unfortunately correct that there are too many cases of delayed and even 'incomprehensible' care for stroke patients today," Zachariah writes. However, it would be "nave and simplistic to assume" that those who support administering the stroke treatment TPA to acute stroke patients have "only pure motives" and those opposed have "only evil ones," he adds. Zachariah concludes, "In such a confusing medical and legal climate there are many legitimate reasons for withholding endorsement of the juggernaut of stroke centers and TPA for strokes until more definitive data is available" (Zachariah, Wall Street Journal, 5/27)


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