Two Dedicated Neurologists

Gulf Coast Healthy Living Magazine Volume 4, Issue 3 - Lakeview Center - Summit Group

When a medical emergency occurs that affects the brain and nervous system, the results can be painful, disorienting and life-altering. A neurological event such as stroke requires immediate, expert care to improve the likelihood for survival and recovery. That’s why you want to select a hospital with neuro hospitalists, specialists who focus solely on the unique care needed by hospital patients.

The complexities of inpatient neurologic care are growing along with the advancing field of stroke care.

"There was a time a few decades ago when neurologists tended to practice palliative or comfort care because there weren’t a lot of other options," said Keena Risola, D.O., a Baptist Medical Group neuro hospitalist. "But now, new medical research is continuing to yield exciting treatment advances every day. For example, the first prescription to alter the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) was approved in 1993, and before that life expectancy was only eight to 10 years past the initial diagnosis. Now, with treatment the life expectancy is very close to that of the non-MS population."

Working in a hospital setting affords neurologists the ability to work with existing technologies, such as telestroke services, to accelerate evaluation and care continuums of stroke patients, as well as address many other types of complex neurological diagnoses. Fast response, coupled with on-site, expert care for a wide range of neurological conditions, results in shorter hospital stays and greater peace of mind for patients and their families.

What about the neuro hospitalist program are you most excited about?
The opportunity to dedicate my time to acutely ill and critical patients with neurologic disorders.
What led you to become a doctor or choose your focus of medicine?
I chose neurology as my specialty because the brain is the most complex and interesting part of the human body. I remember thinking that this is something I can spend the rest of my life learning about.
What can a patient expect when they have you as a doctor?
Honesty and compassion.
What do you find most encouraging about the work you do?
There is so much we are still learning about neurologic disorders. New developments for treatment and potential cures are always on the horizon.
How do you ensure your patients receive the quality, personal health care they deserve?
I spend a great deal of time talking with patients and family members as well as reviewing charts, imaging and labs to be as thorough as I possibly can.

What led you to choose your focus of medicine?
The draw to neurology for me was insatiable curiosity and the challenge of solving puzzles. There is no greater puzzle than the human brain. Imagine it – your brain is responsible for everything you will ever think, feel, taste, move, hear, smell or remember, as well as unconscious actions like breathing, blood pressure and so forth. How can anyone not be intrigued by the greatest puzzle of all – the brain?
What about your line of work do you find most rewarding and why?
When I have to give patients bad news, I take the time needed to help them really understand the medical situation. It never ceases to touch me when they turn around and thank me afterward for the way I have given them this news – I find that moment incredibly rewarding.
In your opinion, what’s the most important factor in a doctor-patient relationship?
I think the ability to communicate effectively with patients and family members is crucial, especially for those who are hearing a devastating diagnosis.