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A specialized ambulance for stroke patients is on the way at UF Health

Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke in the U.S. Every three and a half minutes, someone dies from a stroke.

Strokes are leading causes of long-term disability.

These statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are exactly why officials at UF Health Shands Hospital are forming specialized stroke ambulances.

"Time is brain," Brian Hoh, neurosurgery chair, said. "The faster a stroke can be treated, the better chance for recovery and less chance for disability."

Vascular neurologist Anna Khanna said these souped-up ambulances will be fully equipped with CT scanners, clot-busting drugs and telemedicine equipment.

"What this will allow us to do is to actually bring our emergency department directly to the patient in the field," Khanna said. "We'll be able to scan the patient, examine the patient and administer crucial medications in order to reverse the symptoms of stroke."

If a patient potentially suffered a stroke, a stroke team will be sent out alongside the EMTs and paramedics.

The specialized care will be instrumental in bringing better, faster care to more people, Hoh said, lowering the probability of permanent disability.

"Many of our patients live in rural areas where they might not be close to a stroke center hospital," he said. "This gives them that fighting chance to recover."

Elena is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing
Ashley is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing