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Fargo earns stroke certification


When someone you love has suffered a stroke, you want to know that they’re getting the best possible care. That’s one reason Essentia Health seeks accreditation for its stroke services – and why we’re pleased to announce that Essentia Health-Fargo has been certified by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

Neurologist Dr. Shaun Christenson (left) and Interventional Neurologist Dr. Ziad Darkhabani provide state-of-the-art stroke care at Essentia Health-Fargo.

Stroke Program Coordinator Ahren Dosch says the certification is good news for patients. “The accreditation means that we are committed to providing the highest level of care to stroke patients,” Dosch says. “We are following the latest evidence-based practice guidelines to deliver safe and effective stroke care.”

Protocols immediately launch when a stroke patient shows up in the Emergency Department or on one of the hospital’s floors, Dosch says. Time is critical for someone suffering a stroke. The hospital has the capability to treat strokes much more aggressively with clot-busting medication and endovascular procedures.

“The accreditation is recognition of our team's efforts in providing quality care for our patients. It also helps maintain and improve the quality of our day-to-day practice,” says Dr. Ziad Darkhabani, who specializes in stroke care at Essentia Health-Fargo. Dr. Darkhabani is North Dakota’s only Interventional Neurologist.

Neurologist Dr. Shaun Christenson adds: “For our organization, this is a major step in maintaining excellence and continually improving the care we provide for stroke patients.”

Fargo is the first Essentia hospital to earn this accreditation. Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth is also seeking stroke accreditation and will be surveyed this fall. “We’re networking with each other to develop ideas and relationships. We’re now working to build things into our electronic medical records that can be used in all Essentia facilities,” Dosch says. “We’re striving to standardize stroke care across the regions. The more we network, the better it is for our patients.”

Fargo’s accreditation, combined with the hiring of Dr. Darkhabani and Endovascular Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Hill, sets it apart from any other hospital in North Dakota. “We’re the only facility that can offer comprehensive stroke care,” Dosch explains. “Patients used to be transferred to the Twin Cities for comprehensive stroke care and life-saving treatments. Now we have physicians in Fargo with the capability to treat stroke in our own backyard. We’re very fortunate to have physicians at Essentia with the capability to treat strokes, aneurysms and other complicated neurological diseases.”

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