Lakeland Regional Health


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Stroke Center

When a stroke occurs, every minute counts, and you're just minutes away from expert care at Lakeland Regional Medical Center

Early treatment is extremely important in the event of a stroke, minimizing damage to brain tissue and improving the patient’s prognosis. That’s why it’s comforting to know that in our area, you’re just minutes away from LRMC’s Stroke Center, available to stroke victims twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Led by Dr. Gabriel Pantol, Stroke Program Director, and James Ryan, MSN, RN, Program Coordinator, we are staffed with a multidisciplinary team including emergency department physicians, neurologists, interventional radiologists, intensivists and hospitalists.

Our Dedicated Stroke Unit team includes stroke rehabilitation specialists, and nurses specially trained in cerebrovascular disease.

Lakeland Regional’s Stroke Center is the only stroke program in the area with advanced technology to treat strokes beyond three hours. We were the first to use interventional devices such as carotid stenting, and clot removal devices for acute stroke.

Faster, More Effective Stroke Treatment and Stroke Rehabilitation

Because time is of the essence when treating stroke, during off-hours, a neurologist is on call at Lakeland Regional.  In addition, our  state-of-the-art TeleStroke technology, by InTouch Health, allows a neurologist to assess the patient remotely, before he or she arrives at the emergency department.  That way, the next level of treatment, like clot-busting medication tPA, can be immediately administered.  Meanwhile, the on-call neurologist comes to the hospital to further carry out the patient’s treatment plan.

Lakeland Regional Medical Center’s Stroke Care Program awarded certification from the Joint Commission

Lakeland Regional Medical Center earned the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers after the Joint Commission conducted an unannounced on-site review in April 2008.  LRMC was recertified in 2010.

“Lakeland Regional Medical Center demonstrated that its stroke care program follows national standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients,” says Jean E. Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, Joint Commission.

In addition, the American Stroke Association recently awarded Lakeland Regional Medical Center its Get With The GuidelinesSM–Stroke (GWTG–Stroke) Silver Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes LRMC’s commitment to and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to evidence-based guidelines.

The GWTG-Stroke Silver Performance Achievement Award recognizes LRMC for 12 months of compliance with the seven GWTG-Stroke Achievement Measures. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation counseling.

Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation’s fourth leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke victims alive today.

“Time is of utmost importance when treating stroke,” said Testerman. “Receiving the ‘Get With The Guidelines Performance Achievement’ award shows LRMC’s devotion to treating stroke patients quickly and effectively.”

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program – the nation’s first – in 2003. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available at

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more then 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,800 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. In addition, the Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, the Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about the Joint Commission at

Recovery from a Stroke

Treatment following a stroke depends on the type of stroke involved. Our Stroke Center also provides advanced medical services to aid in recovery from stroke.

Stroke Risk Factors

Risk factors for stroke include: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation, TIA’s (transient ischemic attacks), carotid disease, smoking, excessive alcohol intake and obesity. If you’re at risk for stroke, you couldn’t be in the vicinity of a better stroke care unit than what you’ll find at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

Warning Signs of Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

American Stroke Association

Stroke Survivor and Caregiver Support Group

Days of Class: the third Wednesday of every month
Class Duration: 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.
Location: B201 Classroom

For more information, please contact Stroke Program Coordinator James Ryan, MSN, RN at 863-687-1100 x6248 or email at

Registration is not required for this free program.

© 2016 Lakeland Regional Health