Saved by FaceTime

WSVN — Smart phones are for more than taking selfies, they’re helping save lives! See how doctors and paramedics are using FaceTime technology to help people having a stroke. 7’s Danielle Knox shows us how these patients are being saved by FaceTime.

Roberto Ramos didn’t look so great just a few weeks ago. When he tried to stand up, something didn’t feel right.

Roberto Ramos: “There was a big numbness in the right side, in the hand.”

He couldn’t control his movement.

Roberto Ramos: “You tell your foot to go to the right, and your foot goes left, so it’s a very scary situation.”

Roberto was having a stroke caused by the blockage of a blood vessel in the brain.

Dr. Brijesh Mehta: “It could be a large blood vessel or a small blood vessel, but either way, time is of the essence.”

The sooner a patient gets treatment, the lower the risk of permanent brain damage.

Dr. Brijesh Mehta: “Approximately 2 million neurons are at risk for irreversible injury for every second and minute that lapses.”

Doctors at Memorial Regional Hospital have teamed up with paramedics at Miramar Fire Rescue to test a new program aimed at saving more lives.

It starts with their smart phone!

Dr. Brijesh Mehta: “Let’s utilize this FaceTime technology to assess patients while they’re en route.”

Here’s how it works: once paramedics are on the way to the hospital with the patient, they contact the doctor via FaceTime. The doctor can actually see the patient in the ambulance and ask questions about their condition.

Since the doctor can assess the patient before they reach the hospital, precious minutes are not wasted.

Chief Randy Gonzalez, Miramar Fire Rescue: “So that he can determine whether or not his cath team or stroke team should be activated.”

Once the patient arrives at the hospital, the surgical team is ready to go.

The program is already proving to be successful!

Dr. Brijesh Mehta: “With early activation, more than 50 percent of our patients are having outcomes good enough where they can go home.”

No one knows how important getting help right away is more than Roberto.

He has made almost a full recovery after his stroke, and tells everyone, when something doesn’t feel right, don’t wait, get it checked out!

Roberto Ramos: “The sooner you find out, the less risk you’re taking.”

The pilot program was launched in November and 10 patients have already been assessed using FaceTime. They’re doing great.