Pictured are members of SGMC’s award-winning Code Stroke Program which include medical professionals from Emergency Medical Services and SGMC’s neurology, emergency, and rehabilitation departments. Valdosta, GA – May 21, 2015 – South Georgia Medical Center has been named a recipient of the Women’s Choice Award (WCA) as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Stroke Care. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA), stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US and the leading cause of adult disability. Every 40 seconds, someone will suffer a stroke, resulting in more than 795,000 annually affected, with more than 137,000 deaths. According to the AHA, 1 in 3 will women die of heart disease and stroke.When you look at the number of stroke occurrences and deaths across the nation, traditionally they are the highest in the Southeastern region due to lifestyles said Randy Sauls, SGMC CEO. “Through SGMC’s Code Stroke Program we are actually seeing these numbers shift because of prompt, progressive treatment.”The program is successful due to the comprehensive team approach which engages emergency response personnel, emergency department nurses and physicians, Code Stroke Medical Director Brian Dawson, MD, and various medical staff members. The diagnosis and treatment is coupled with SGMC’s Rehabilitation Unit which helps patients regain strength, function, mobility and independence following a stroke.Hospitals earning the Stroke Care Award must be accredited by the Joint Commission/ASA as an Advanced Primary Care Stroke Center or an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center. In addition, publicly available data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and patient recommendation ratings data were included when assessing each hospital’s clinical performance.“We congratulate these hospitals and their dedication to education, prevention, and early intervention to reduce the devastating effects of stroke,” said Sharyn S. Lee, RN, MS, FACEHP, President of the WCA Healthcare Division. The WCA Seal is the only declaration that integrates clinical excellence (CMS) and consumer experience to provide women, the family’s Chief Health Officers, the ability to make the best healthcare decisions for their families.“The women in South Georgia and North Florida are extremely fortunate to have access to one of the best Stroke Centers in America. Through our joint efforts with SGMC we will empower a woman to make the best healthcare choices for her and her family,” said Delia Passi, Founder and CEO of the Women’s Choice Award. Year after year, the Women’s Choice Award is the only credential that identifies the nation’s best healthcare institutions by measuring against the needs and preferences of women, when it comes to treatment and a quality hospital experience. This credential signifies SGMC’s commitment and passion towards an extraordinary healthcare experience for women and all patients.