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VVMC / SMC Stroke Telemedicine Unit Unveiled


Good morning!
My name is Doug Tisdale.
I’m an attorney and the President of Tisdale & Associates LLC, a law firm based in Denver. I’m a Cherry Hills Village City Councilman.
But more importantly today, I serve on the Board of the Colorado Neurological Institute and on the Board of the Vail Valley Medical Center and I chair the Board of the Eagle Health Care Center.
I want to share with you my passion about educating people, and particularly women, regarding the risk and the treatment of stroke:
— Each year stroke kills more than twice as many American women as breast cancer.
— Every three minutes, someone dies of a stroke.
And on Tuesday, January the 6th, 2004, at about this hour, my wife Pat was one of those people.
On that bleak day, Dr. Don Smith, one of the leading experts on stroke in the United States, had the difficult task of explaining to me what a stroke is, what it can do, and what it had done to the love of my life, my wife Pat.
Pat Tisdale was a partner in the law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen. She was – by all accounts – the premiere municipal attorney in Colorado. She was one of the deans of the land use and the eminent domain bars. She was a woman of great talent, great skill, great intellect and great beauty. She was the mother of four beautiful, gifted and talented children.
And she was not a candidate for stroke.
But on January the 4th, she had a stroke at our home in Vail. She was rushed to the Vail Valley Medical Center. Our emergency room physicians did all they could to save her. Ultimately they decided to transport Pat down to the stroke experts at Swedish. But on the Sunday following New Year’s, after two feet of fresh powder in the Vail Valley, transport by ambulance wasn’t an option.
And so Pat was airlifted to Swedish. I hoped that helicopter ride could save her. After all, our son’s life had been saved when he was airlifted after falling 60 feet off of a cliff at Red Rocks in 1994.
But this time, it wasn’t to be.
Pat Tisdale left us on January the 6th, two days after the onset of her stroke.
At that moment, my life transformed. I had an Epiphany. I determined that no man should ever be as helpless, as clueless as I was about stroke. My commitment was born to support the education and outreach programs of CNI.
Now, from all I’ve been told, the type and the severity of Pat’s stroke were such that there wasn’t much anyone could’ve done to save her life.
But from all I’ve learned since that day, I know one thing:
For every stroke like Pat’s, there are more than a hundred strokes where timely expert intervention CAN make a difference.
Our Family’s experience in losing Pat helped me understand that in those cases you CAN survive stroke IF the proper resources are available and your physician can tap into expertly trained physicians and surgeons in the highly specialized areas of stroke care and neurology.
That’s reason enough to do this!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Welcome to the future! Today we unveil one of the first manifestations of medical diagnosis and treatment in the 21st Century!
With the help of Dr. Don Smith and Dr. Chris Fanale and Luanne Williams, I’d like to present this marvel to you.
I give you CO-DOC!
A unit identical to this is now installed at the Vail Valley Medical Center.
VVMC – an excellent hospital, with exceptional doctors and facilities – provides outstanding community care and is a world-renowned orthopedic center.
But community medical centers cannot sustain the burden of keeping board-certified neurologists and neurosurgeons on call 24 hours a day. It’s simply not possible.
What IS possible is to have this telemedicine unit – a sort of virtual doctor – connect a regional physician on a real-time basis with the leading practitioners in stroke medicine today.
And that’s why I committed to help fund a CO-DOC unit in Vail. This unit, funded by matching grants from me and Vail Valley Medical Center, is the first to be connected with the CO-DOC telemedicine network. We know that our donation will save lives in Eagle County and Summit County and the surrounding areas. And we hope that it will be a beachhead from which this network will expand throughout all of Colorado.
If there’s one thing you take away with you, I hope it’s this:
In stroke, seconds equate to brain cells dying; minutes equate to whole regions of the brain dying; hours can equate to a person dying.
Time is not on our side.
But CO-DOC gives us that precious time.
While I’ve spoken to you, two more people in America have died from stroke.
Shouldn’t we try to improve those numbers?
I think we should.
And from today on, I know we will.
Thank you!
It’s now my pleasure to introduce Dr. Chris Fanale to give us a further explanation and a demonstration of CO-DOC.
Dr. Fanale.

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