BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) -- It could be the difference between life and death. A mobile rescue squad was unveiled Thursday in Bucks County.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Survival depends on quick treatment. Now, instead of racing to the hospital, a mini, specialized hospital on wheels can come to you.
"We're the first university medial center in our region to have this," Jefferson neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Rosenwasser said.
Rosenwasser described the new partnership with Bensalem EMS, and the new super high-tech ambulance.
The unit is equipped with a CT scanner that transmits brain images so the neuro team at Jefferson can look for signs of a stroke. If one is found, the brain rescue team will have clot-busting medications on board to administer right away -- when they're most effective.
"The other major piece of equipment in this truck is this camera they call, 'Robot,'" Thomas Topley, with the Bensalem Rescue Squad, said.
Cameras on board will allow doctors to do virtual patient exams, like looking for signs of particular paralysis -- a primary stroke symptom.
"We're actually gonna bring world class neuroscience to your driveway and that's not done anywhere in the region," Topley said.
The mobile stroke unit will serve patients in the far northeast and lower Bucks County. It's all about getting quick treatment.
With strokes, about 2 million brain cells die every minute without intervention.
"It's now the fifth-leading cause of death, but is the leading cause of disability by a factor of five," Rosenwasser said. "Forty-billion dollars a year we spend on care of stroke patients."
The hope is stroke disabilities can be reduced with quicker, on-the-spot treatments, and no more wasting precious time in transit.
The mobile stroke unit will be staffed with people specially trained to treat stroke patients and they'll also be communicating with experts at the hospital.
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