Panelists answer questions from the audience
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – If you are enjoying dinner with a friend and notice they suddenly seem to be confused, losing coordination, dizzy, or mention the on-set of a severe headache, what would you do to help them? 

That’s a scenario that was presented to community members who attended a free stroke seminar Monday at Wilson College’s Brooks Complex Auditorium. 

Dr. Sanjay Dhar, medical director of Summit Health’s stroke program, told attendees that in that situation, or any scenario stroke symptoms are present, to call 911 for immediate medical help. 

At the event, Dr. Dhar and Dr. Ruediger Kratz, WellSpan neurologist, emphasized the importance of a quick response when dealing with a possible stroke.

“Time is of the essence when dealing with a stroke,” explained Dr. Dhar. “We would like you to think of stroke on-par with a heart attack in terms of need for urgency when dealing with a stroke.”

To improve the chances of a stroke patient making a full recovery, it is crucial that the medical team can assess them properly to make the best medical decisions as soon as possible.  Since time is so critical, technologies at Chambersburg and Waynesboro Hospitals, which are both certified stroke centers, enable them to start treatment faster.

Dr. Kratz discussed Stroke risk factors and how to minimize risk, as well as some of the medications that are used for preventing strokes.

Dr. Dhar described how Telestroke services quickly connect patients with a specialist via high-speed, high-resolution, and high-quality video conference. “This technology was developed to get expertise to the patient without delay,” he said.  “Every minute thousands of brain cells can die; time is of the essence in these types of situations.”

Telestroke technology is a wonderful resource for patients living in Franklin County, he said, because it brings the expertise to them.

Attendees of the event were also presented with information about the different treatments available for stokes, and information on warning signs and symptoms to be aware of leading up to a stroke.

After presentations by Dr. Dhar and Dr. Kratz, Marty Zimmerman, a Greencastle resident and stroke survivor shared his story, from waking up with numbness in his left side and a loss of coordination, through his treatment and rehab, telling the group he is expected to make a 100 percent recovery.

“I relied on my faith, family, and friends to get through the ordeal,” Zimmerman said.  “I’m up and walking, I’m able to talk.  The stroke did not affect my speech or memory.”

In addition to the guest speakers, community members enjoyed free blood pressure screenings at the event and were able to participate in a question and answer session following the presentations.

For more information on stroke risk factors, symptoms, and treatment, visit

Summit Health is a non-profit network of hospitals and physician practices dedicated to building a healthier community.

As Franklin County's leading healthcare provider, Summit Health offers family care, specialists, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, urgent care centers, and two award-winning hospitals.


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