The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to work well. Just minutes after a stroke disrupts or stops blood flow, brain cells can die, jeopardizing functions such as movement, speech, emotional regulation and memory.

Stroke is the second-leading cause of death and third-leading cause of disability worldwide. According to a 2017 report issued by Bermuda’s Ministry of Health, diseases of the circulatory system ― including stroke ― are the leading cause of death on the island.

When we entered into a clinical affiliation with the Bermuda Hospitals Board in May 2019, it was clear that one of the focus areas should be enhancing and expanding stroke care at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital — the only acute care facility on the island, which BHB operates.

Over the course of our initial two-year agreement, Johns Hopkins experts will help the hospital advance its stroke services, emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of stroke.

By providing educational support through observerships in Baltimore and on-site trainings in Bermuda, we aim to help the hospital align all the departments that participate in stroke care, including critical care, nursing, social work, pharmacy, rehabilitation and pre-hospital emergency services.

Building on these efforts, we will work with BHB to create an integrated stroke program at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital that covers the continuum of stroke care, including prevention, pre-hospital care, acute care, rehabilitation and re-entry into the community.

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is seeing as many as five stroke patients every week. Our goal is to work alongside BHB to establish a leading primary stroke center that will earn accreditation by the Joint Commission International by 2021 to ensure Bermudian stroke patients have the best odds for a full recovery.

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