UAMS-Led Stroke Program Honors Baxter Regional Nurse

By David Robinson

Baxter Regional in Mountain Home is one of 18 Arkansas hospitals now linked with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)-led SAVES program, which uses the latest video communications technology to help provide immediate, life-saving treatments to stroke patients 24 hours a day.

McCutchen was recognized at a statewide stroke conference held at Mount Magazine State Park. As nurse facilitator he is responsible for equipment, staff, training protocols and guidelines, but he has also adopted the informal role of AR SAVES community promoter. He speaks regularly to churches, civic groups, nursing homes and assisted living groups.

As with most outlying community hospitals, before SAVES, patients often missed the opportunity to receive the clot-dissolving drug tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) simply because there was no stroke neurologist available to recommend its use. Patients must receive the drug within 4.5 hours, which has been nearly impossible for many rural stroke patients.

“Delbert immediately saw the value of the SAVES program for his community, and he has been proactive in his support,” said Julie Hall-Barrow, Ed.D., education director for the UAMS Center for Distance Health.
Since Baxter Regional joined the SAVES program in April 2009, there have been 49 stroke consults with AR SAVES, and McCutchen has seen the dramatic results.

“What a powerful thing,” he said. “You don’t often get to see a patient go from nearly comatose and paralyzed on one side to being awake and mobile within minutes.”

But even with the SAVES program, McCutchen said many stroke patients arrive at the hospital too late to receive the t-PA, and he is glad that the SAVES program includes a strong public awareness and education campaign.

“I think it’s important to talk to people and explain what an impact this program can have on their lives, their friends’ lives, loved ones’ lives,” he said.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and six institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or