Contact Us: 734-712-3456
Media Contact:
Lauren Jones, Media Relations
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Advanced Stroke Services Save Life of 26-Year-Old
Start Date

Local hospital is one of only 28 hospitals in the state to be accredited by the Joint Commission for advanced stroke care.

HOWELL, Mich. – When they arrived at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital, Marilyn and Gary Kree didn’t know what was wrong with their son. He had collapsed at home and was rushed to the emergency room. There, it was determined – at the young age of 26 – that Justin was having a stroke.

With the state-of-the-art care provided through St. Joseph Mercy Livingston’s affiliation with the Michigan Stroke Network, a neurosurgeon at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) was able to examine Justin through a remote telepresence technology – or a stroke robot. This was done with Dr. Lisa Welsh at Kree’s bedside at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston. Through this interaction, it was determined he was having a stroke and the team at St. Joe’s Livingston stabilized him and started the important clot-busting drug, tPA, prior to being airlifted to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac for further treatment.

The Michigan Stroke Network, founded by Trinity Health, is a collaborative network of hospitals throughout Michigan that allows patients to gain immediate access to advanced stroke care. With the use of telemedicine, physicians at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston are able to access some of the top stroke specialists in the country.

“The technology provided by the Stroke Network allows physicians to evaluate a patient quickly,” explains John Davanzo, director of emergency services at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston. “This is important because prompt intervention enhances the likelihood of a person’s recovery.”

Because of it’s dedication to state-of-the-art stroke care, St. Joseph Mercy Livingston, along with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Saline hospitals, is named a Primary Stroke Center, accredited as such by The Joint Commission. St. Joseph Mercy Livingston is one of only 28 hospitals in the state to receive this distinction.

“We’re proud to achieve the distinction,” says Dr. Gerald Riess, stroke medical director at St. Joseph Livingston. “Receiving this Primary Stroke Center Certification confirms our commitment to providing state of the art stroke care in addition to focusing on the importance of community education and support groups for survivors and caregivers.”

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Livingston and Saline’s stroke programs bring together specially trained doctors, nurses and therapists to provide comprehensive stroke care. Every patient receives evidence based, consistent and equitable care. Comprehensive rehabilitation services are available as soon as a patient is medically stabilized. The stroke programs focus on supporting the community by providing life-saving stroke service access to patients and their families. The hospitals of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System work closely with the community to decrease incidents of stroke through stroke awareness and support services.

Support services include a stroke support group, which meets once a month at the hospital. This group allows stroke survivors and caregivers to come together and discuss their recovery and talk amongst people who have experienced a similar life event.

Nanci Forster, whose husband and father have both suffered a stroke, attends the support group and finds it extremely helpful. “It allows me to talk to other caregivers and discuss how they’ve handled different situations. We share our experiences and we get ideas from each other. You realize you’re not the only person who has gone through something so life changing. While things aren’t how they used to be, this is our ‘new normal,’ and we work together to embrace our ‘new normal.’”

This established culture of excellence in stroke care enables the hospitals to provide a remarkable patient experience and ensure that the highest level of care is being provided to all patients. The hospitals have received Primary Stroke Center Certification because this high standard of care is provided on a consistent basis.

Thanks to advanced care options at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston, Justin Kree has made a full recovery.

“You would never know he had a stroke,” Marilyn says. “We are thankful for the technology and care he received at St. Joseph Mercy Livingston. It saved his life.”