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Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston

“Time is brain” is a statement often used to describe how minutes matter for patients who suffer a stroke. Mount St. Mary’s Hospital is moving forward with plans to install a helipad on its campus at 5300 Military Road in Lewiston, which will provide emergency air transport for patients who may require a higher level of care.

Currently, emergency ground transport time to Buffalo is 45 minutes; air transport would cut the time to 8 minutes.

“Time is of the essence for stroke cases, as two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke,” said Lee Guterman, PhD, MD, Medical Director of Neuroscience Services for Catholic Health and a neuro-interventionist at the Mercy Hospital Comprehensive Stroke Center “Mount St. Mary’s is well-equipped to provide exceptional care for most stroke cases, however, some cases will require advanced intervention. The faster critical-level stroke patients receive that intervention, the better the outcome.”

Mount St. Mary’s, a New York State Designated Primary Stroke Center, recently implemented medical and technological advances which have significantly enhanced emergency care for stroke patients. Telemedicine equipment like the InTouch stroke system provides high-quality video-conferencing capabilities through pan/tilt/zoom cameras; Viz.ai software delivers fast, secure CT image transfers and artificial intelligence analysis; and the Pulsara app offers real-time triage and assessment consultations between EMS and ER providers while stroke patients are on route to the hospital.

“These advances allow immediate, 24/7 support from Catholic Health and UB Neurosurgery’s experienced team of specialists to make critical treatment decisions,” said Jason Davies, MD, PhD, Director of Endovascular Stroke Services and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Informatics at UB Neurosurgery. “The addition of the helipad strengthens the already top-performing stroke program at Mount St. Mary’s.”

This isn’t the first time Mount St. Mary’s has provided air transport for patients. In 1969, a helipad was installed at the hospital to address highway traffic congestion. Several years later, a much-needed medical office building was constructed in its place to house hospital clinics and providers.

“We are thrilled to return a fully operational helipad to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and Niagara County, and we thank the Lewiston Town Board, Mercy Flight, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, and our EMS partners for their support,” said C.J. Urlaub, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital President and Catholic Health Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Integration & Care Delivery-Niagara County. “Our community can be confident that their emergency needs can be met in their own backyard, and feel at ease that we will provide safe, timely life-saving emergency air transport if a higher level of care is needed.”

In addition to stroke care, patients with critical cardiac, renal, pulmonary, sepsis, and pulmonary embolus conditions will also benefit from this upgrade in expedited transportation. “We know that time is of the essence with critical care patients,” said Urlaub. “Saving lives is the greatest outcome we can give them, their families, and our community.”

As Mount St. Mary’s prepares for the installation of its new helipad, the hospital will also be conducting a full parking lot paving project, scheduled to begin Thursday with an anticipated completion date of Oct. 17. Information regarding temporary changes in traffic patterns and parking during this time will be posted in the hospital and parking lot, and will be shared with patients and EMS providers.

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