Telemedicine grant to help brain aneurysm patients

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Associated Press

Posted on June 1, 2014 at 10:03 AM

LEBANON, N.H. (AP) — A foundation created in memory of a 12-year-old Texas girl is helping a New Hampshire hospital provide rapid access to neurovascular specialists for brain aneurysm patients across northern New England.

The foundation, the Missy Project, was created in 1999 to honor Marisa "Missy" Magel, who died while at summer camp from a brain aneurysm disease her family didn't know she had. The project recently donated $150,000 to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Telehealth, which will use telemedicine to give children and adults real-time access to neurovascular specialty care.

Telemedicine is a great fit for many neurovascular patients because a physical examination isn't always required, said Dr. Robert Singer, a neurosurgeon.

Typically, patients have to wait weeks to get an appointment with him after getting a scan from their doctor, he said. Telemedicine reduces patient travel and the wait time for an appointment, and gives the patients a better visit, he said.

"Many of them drive great distances for what is typically a 15-minute appointment, and then they have to return at a later time if they need a diagnostic or treatment procedure," he said. "That 15-minute appointment can easily be conducted via the virtual aneurysm clinic."

About 30,000 people in the United States have ruptured brain aneurysms each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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