Councilwoman Leal in Critical but Stable Condition in ICU - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Councilwoman Leal in Critical but Stable Condition in ICU

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CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

City councilwoman Priscilla Leal remains in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit of a Harlingen hospital following a severe stroke on Friday.

According to the City of Corpus Christi, a blood clot was successfully removed from her brain on Friday, and a stent was put in its place. Leal's daughter, Dina Leal Chavez, said the next two days will be critical to her mother's recovery, and that they are grateful for the support they have received from the community.

It was Friday morning when Leal was found by her husband lying on the floor of their home. She was taken by ambulance to Doctor's Regional Medical Center, and was later transferred by helicopter to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen.

The official reason given for her transfer to the Harlingen hospital was that the procedure she needed wasn't available here.

3News spoke with several stroke specialists and neurosurgeons, and they said most of the required treatments for stroke victims are available right here in Corpus Christi.

"Millions of brain cells are dying every minute, so the sooner that we can treat a patient, the more likely we can save more brain tissue," Neurosurgeon Dr. Morgan Campbell said.

Dr. Campbell practices out of Christus Spohn Hospital Shoreline, and said that depending on the type of stroke a patient suffers, that determines what type of treatment he or she will receive. Despite high-tech facilities like the one that recently opened at Spohn Shoreline five months ago, on rare occasions, those treatments are not performed here.

Instead, the patients are then transferred out of the area.

"There is an occasional patient that may have a very complex aneurysm or vascular malformation in the brain that we feel may be better taken care of with a coil or a stinting procedure asking for a little bit higher level than we can offer here, and in those cases, we would transfer those cases to another facility," Campbell said. "In most cases, we have initially evaluated those patients. Some we have diagnostic tests. We've stabilized them. We've treated them initially, but then when they need the next level of care, we will send them out."

When it comes to where a patient is to be transported to the hospital by EMS, that too calls for a certain protocol. Fire Chief Robert Rocha said it is about getting a patient to the nearest hospital.

"We're fortunate to have three hospitals in our area. Doctor's Regional is an appropriate facility for us to take stroke patients to, and so the proximity of where the patient is dependent on which hospital we go to," Rocha said. "So if a patient lives closer to Doctor's Regional, who has had a stroke, we will take that patient to that hospital."

Rocha said the bottom line is to save lives by getting patients to the closest and best care possible.

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