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Valley stroke patients will get faster treatment with new mobile emergency room

Stroke patients in the Valley will be getting faster treatment, thanks to a new partnership between the Phoenix Fire Department and the Barrow Neurological Institute. On Wednesday, they unveiled a new mobile emergency room that is specifically designed to treat victims of a stroke.

Starting next month, when someone calls 911 and there's a possible stroke involved, Phoenix Fire crews will deploy the mobile emergency room. The Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit, or BEST-U for short, will bring all the tools for helping stroke patients right to the scene.

"This is basically an emergency room on wheels for stroke patients," said Michael Waters, the Medical Director of the unit.

"We will be able to provide the most sophisticated and the most time sensitive diagnosis and treatment for stroke available in the world," said Stephen Papadopoulos, Chief Medical Officer at Barrow Neurological Institute.

Waters said the unit is equipped with advanced tools. It is staffed with a nurse and CT technician, and it is capable of video-conferences with doctors back at the hospital.

Medics can even do CAT scans on board the unit.

"This gives us the ability to initiate treatment and do a triage diagnosis in the field," said Waters.

"The experts have said when a person suffers a stroke, every minute -- every second is of paramount importance," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

This mobile emergency room allows medics to treat stroke patients much faster than traditional ways, which will reduce the effects of the stroke.

"This is critical with stroke care because its such a time critical process," said Waters. "The sooner we are able to treat patients, the better the potential outcome for those patients."

The unit cost $1 Million, and will be dispatched starting in July.