Gulfport Memorial Hospital receives large grant

By Jessica Bowman – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport's Memorial Hospital is receiving thousands of dollars to help stroke victims. Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in our state and doctors want to help educate the public about the warning signs and what to do in the event of a stroke. Neurologist Dr. Lee Voulters said Memorial Hospital will use the grant money to establish the Mississippi Gulf Coast region's first stroke education and prevention network.

Memorial Hospital is a nationally certified primary stroke center, making it a headquarters for stroke victims.

Dr. Lee Voulters said, "Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the number one cause of disability. In Mississippi, unfortunately, we're number one in a lot of categories and we're number one in this category too."

Neurologist and Director of the stroke program at Memorial Hospital, Dr. Lee Voulters said thanks to the $475,000 grant, his team will now be able to take their knowledge of strokes outside the hospital walls, using a three pronged plan.

"The first way is to educate the community. We need to educate the community on what exactly is a stroke, how to recognize a stroke as quickly as possible and also to act on that as quickly as possible, because time is of the essence," said Dr. Voulters.

The team will use a multi-media approach focusing on the six coastal counties. According to Dr. Voulters the Stroke: Signs and Symptoms Awareness Campaign will shine through info-mercials, radio spots, billboards and much more, bringing us to part two.

"We're going to have a concentrated effort. We'll use this money to set up support groups. We're going to go in and help stroke victims and their caregivers," said Dr. Voulters.

Rehabilitation and out-patient programs along with nursing and assisted living homes will be visited by the team making stroke awareness a priority. The third prong to the puzzle is health care providers themselves. Dr. Voulters said emergency medical services in all six coastal counties must be alerted.

Dr. Voulters said, "We're going to help educate the nurses, other healthcare providers, physicians and emergency room physicians. We're going to go into doctor offices. We have plans for over 100 physician clinics with appropriate most up to date stroke material information."

With the most up to date knowledge on strokes, experts can reach out to communities and professionals to really make a difference.

Congressman Gene Taylor played a huge role in securing the grant. His request led to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services award to Memorial Hospital.

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