These hospitals have specialized equipment and protocols in place and have well-rehearsed pathways in place to make sure stroke patients are treated as fast and as safely as possible.
A survey in one European country showed that 134 hospitals were admitting stroke patients in a particular year, but that only 34 of these hospitals provided the patients with guideline-recommended treatments. A patient that ended up in one of the 100 hospitals that admitted patients but did not treat them appropriately would have a much worse likelihood of surviving their stroke with their life intact.
Just like no one would take a pregnant lady that has gone into labor to an eye hospital to deliver her baby, stroke patients should also not be admitted to hospitals that cannot manage them. We cannot expect the public to know which hospitals are “Stroke ready” and which not, this is not feasible. That’s why we are training ambulance staff to know.
Therefore the best thing to do when stroke strikes is not to drive to the closest hospital or phone a friend but to call an ambulance immediately. They will know which hospital is able to provide the patient with the best chance of getting to the appropriate treatment fast.