CINCINNATI — A new specialized kind of ambulance is getting to patients having a stroke faster.

What You Need To Know

  • UC Health's Mobile Stroke Unit hit the road approximately three years ago and medical officials estimate they've helped at least 450 stroke patients  

  • During that time frame, officials estimate they've been able to get treatment to stroke patients at least 30 minutes faster than going straight to the hospital 

  • The mobile stroke unit has a CAT Scan machine that sends the brain X-rays directly to a doctor on call who can start immediate treatment

Don Mundy, 86, is glad just to be able to walk to the car.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle,” said Don Mundy.

Approximately three months ago something happened that could’ve been deadly. 

“All the sudden, I began to talk funny, like my mouth, I was slurring,” said Don Mundy.

His wife, Rubie Mundy, a former nurse, recognized what was happening.

“I said ‘Oh my god, you are having a stroke,’” she said, “I was scared to death because I thought he would have paralysis.”

She called 911, but it wasn’t just an ambulance that showed up from the Springfield Township Fire Department. It was a team of UC Health paramedics on something called the Mobile Stroke Unit.

The truck has a CAT Scan machine on it that sends the brain X-rays straight to the stroke doctor’s phone. Medical Director Dr. Chris Richards is one of them.

“We always talk about face drooping, arm weakness, speech trouble and those are very common symptoms. Sometimes if the blockage is in the back of the brain, you can have bad vertigo or sometimes people are just confused,” said Richards.

That’s when he says the truck makes a difference. He said they can get stroke patient’s treatment more than 30 minutes faster and he says they need every second.

“For every minute that goes by, we think that a million and a half brain cells die, it truly is minutes make a difference and if we’re able to get that clot-busting medication in the first 60 minutes of when the stroke is happening, those patients do that much better,” said Richards. 

In the last three years since the truck rolled out, UC Health estimates they’ve helped 450 patients in the Cincinnati area.

The Mundys are happy Don was one of them.

“The stroke unit saved his life, yes it did, me, Jesus, and the stroke unit, we all worked together,” said Rubie Mundy.

“I absolutely appreciate what they’ve done,” said Don Mundy.