SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Joshua Chesbrough was just 23 years old when he suffered the most painful headache of his young life. “I thought I was going to die,” the college student recalled. His face felt paralyzed. His arms and legs barely responded.
He was rushed to Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center, where physicians determined Chesbrough had suffered a stroke, a rare occurrence for someone so young. Teams of caregivers worked diligently to clear blood clots blocking the flow of blood from Chesbrough’s brain back to his heart, then to reduce swelling around his brainstem.
Chesbrough ultimately regained his health and expects to graduate later this year with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from California State University, East Bay.
He credits his treatment and care at the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center — which this month earned national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center — for saving his life. “I’m so happy I don’t have any long-term or permanent issues,” Chesbrough said. “I’m thankful for all the hard work that the medical staff put in to ensure that I would have a chance at a full life.”
While all Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals are Primary Stroke Care centers, its Sacramento Medical Center, because of the facility’s specialized capabilities in neurologic disease, qualifies as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Comprehensive Stroke Center certification is an official designation given by The Joint Commission, a national not-for-profit that accredits health care organizations and programs in the U.S. for achieving high performance standards.
There are 1,200 Primary Stroke Centers in the country, and only 121 are Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke centers. Kaiser Permanente Sacramento has long offered specialized neurological care at its neuroscience center. Physicians rely on the most advanced technology available to treat complex cases.
“Working with our outstanding team of caregivers, we’re able to successfully treat the most common cases of stroke, as well as those uncommon cases like Chesbrough’s,” said Jonathan Hartman, MD, director of the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento stroke center.
“We are so pleased that The Joint Commission found that our hospital has the expertise, the dedication and the infrastructure to provide outstanding care of complex stroke conditions,” said Dr. Hartman, who performed Chesbrough’s procedure.
Those complex conditions include hemorrhagic stroke, where a vessel bursts and pours blood into the brain tissue; aneurysms, which can cause hemorrhagic strokes and may require the use of sophisticated intravascular tools to control; and other conditions that require brain surgery, a long-time specialty at Kaiser Permanente Sacramento.
“Our Comprehensive Stroke Center accreditation will benefit Kaiser Permanente members all over Northern California,” said Robert Azevedo, MD, the physician-in-chief of Kaiser Permanente Sacramento. “Our team of highly skilled caregivers provide expert consultation and our hospital is a referral site of clinical excellence in complex stroke care for the entire Kaiser Permanente Northern California Region. Our doctors are practicing at the highest level of skill because of their extensive training, their opportunity to draw on the experience of their peers and the ability to conduct a large volume of specialized procedures.”
The Joint Commission commended the team at Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center for its long-standing stroke-care expertise.
“By achieving this advanced certification, Kaiser Permanente Sacramento has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of patients with a complex stroke condition,” said Mark Chassin, MD, president of The Joint Commission.
“Kaiser Permanente, which has served Sacramento-area residents for more than 50 years, is a leader in integrated care, which our members appreciate because it gives them easy access to a wide variety of primary care or specialty doctors,” said Sandy Sharon, the senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente Sacramento. “Our caregivers are part of a team of providers who use the latest tools and technology to deliver the treatment that’s best for each individual.”
She added: “The Joint Commission certification reaffirms and validates the high quality we have been providing for many years in Sacramento.”
Kaiser Permanente’s Sacramento hospital has a dedicated neuro-intensive care unit that provides 24/7 neuro-critical care, which is a requirement of the Comprehensive Stroke Center accreditation. In addition, Kaiser Permanente has a post-hospital rehabilitation program at a center in Vallejo. Post-hospital care is another requirement for accreditation. Kaiser Permanente’s integrated care delivery model ensures that members throughout Northern California can quickly get access to this highest level of expertise. This collaboration is enabled by Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 11.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.