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LOOKING DEEPER Even serious symptoms can sometimes be easy to miss. Learn how Castle Rock Adventist Hospital’s quick-thinking emergency Dr. Britney Anderson team helped one patient get the care she needed to prevent a stroke and save her life.

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hen Tricia Lancaster went to Castle Rock Adventist Hospital after experiencing a severe headache and neck pain for several days, she assumed it was related to a pulled muscle, because she’d had lower back and neck issues before. But the real problem was more serious. Lancaster had a vertebral artery dissection — a tear in the inner lining of the artery in the neck that pumps blood to the brain. When the inner lining tears, the blood can clot inside the artery wall. As the clot grows, the artery wall thickens and makes it hard for blood to continue flowing through to the brain. Lancaster’s tear was spotted during a CT scan, which she didn’t think she needed at first. “I sat there thinking this was way overboard, but it turns out it most likely saved my life,” she says.

AVERTING A STROKE Lancaster, 34, of Castle Rock, was admitted to the ICU that evening. While she was grateful the problem had been identified, she was also terrified. But an ICU nurse helped calm her down, and she was monitored for signs of stroke and put on blood thinners. The next morning, she saw a neurologist and learned that the tear was small — not large enough for surgery — and would likely heal on its own. She underwent an MRI to determine if she had already had a stroke (she hadn’t). But she would need to stay on blood thinners and be monitored until her next MRI in a couple of months to make sure the tear had healed. Vertebral artery dissection isn’t always easy to spot, as Lancaster learned when she researched the condition via an online support group for people with it. “A lot of people were saying they’d gone to the ER multiple

A lifesaving diagnosis in the ER at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital helped Tricia Lancaster get home to her family safe and healthy.

times, and their issues never got resolved,” she says. “They were surprised when I told them that I got a CT scan right away, because it likely prevented a stroke and probably saved my life.” EXPERIENCE PAYS OFF So, how was Castle Rock Adventist Hospital’s emergency team able make this catch? While the hospital is still new to the community, the team inside has decades of experience — experience that led the team to catching Lancaster’s potentially life-threatening condition. “We’re trained to ask specific questions on what the worst or most emergent items would be, and it’s our job to try to rule them out,” says Britney Anderson, MD, emergency medicine physician and physician director of informatics at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital. In Lancaster’s case, questions about her ongoing headaches and

neck pain led her to disclose that she’d recently seen her chiropractor, which threw up red flags. “We have seen vertebral artery dissections in the past due to chiropractic neck manipulations,” Anderson says. “It’s rare, but it’s something we think of because that’s how we’re trained.” And Lancaster is certainly grateful for this training, and the care she received in the hospital. “From when we walked in the door, the whole experience was awesome,” she says. “I knew I was in a good place and that they knew what they were doing.”

Castle Rock Adventist Hospital is part of the Centura Health Trauma System, the region’s largest and most comprehensive network of trauma care and emergency services.

Extraordinary Care for Kids, Too | It’s not just moms and dads who benefit from the emergency medicine experts at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital. Since opening in 2012, Castle Rock Adventist Hospital’s ER team has cared for more than 13,500 children with injuries from broken bones to life-threatening illnesses. At Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, your family benefits from specialists who average more than 30 years of experience. And we are located right here in Castle Rock, so there’s no need to fight I-25 traffic to get fast care for your family’s emergencies. Check castlerockhospital.org/crh/specialties/emergency-care for wait times.

castlerockhospital.org

Spring 2016

9 ELEVATE

Profile for Castle Rock Adventist Hospital

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