Neuroscience Services

St. Francis Medical Center - Downtown
309 Jackson Street
Monroe, LA 71201

Anytime you or a loved one receives a diagnosis involving delicate structures in the body, the fear can be a little overwhelming. At St. Francis, we understand the apprehension and anxiety felt when neurological or neurosurgical healthcare is needed. The good news is that if you live in Northeast Louisiana, you'll be comforted to know that St. Francis offers the most comprehensive level of neurological and neurosurgical services available - all close to home.

St. Francis Medical Center is proud to offer a complete range of neuroscience services. Our team approach to holistic care for our patients is what sets St. Francis Medical Center apart in our community.

Our care integrates a broad spectrum of clinical services bringing together specialists from nearly every field involved in neurological treatment including physiatry, neurology, neurosurgery and rehabilitation, all in one convenient location. Multidisciplinary care teams, through a flexible network, provide seamless treatment and coordination of care from diagnosis to discharge.

These teams include neurologists and neurosurgeons, neuroradiologist, physiatrists, nurses, therapists, social workers, certified nurse aides, radiology and laboratory specialists, chaplains, and many others, all who maintain expertise in the field of neuroscience. The specialists associated with the Neuroscience Services at St. Francis provide a broad base of clinical expertise, providing specialized care.

Our team utilizes state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat our patients, on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. At St. Francis, skilled neurosurgeons utilize a state-of-the-art StealthStation® Treatment Guidance System that shows 3-dimensional real time images of the surgical procedures in progress. For the surgeon, this means more precision - and for the patient, this results in shorter operating time which means less anesthesia for the patient and quicker recovery. As the first and only healthcare provider in our area to utilize the StealthStation® System, St. Francis continues to be the leader in using cutting edge neuronavigation technology - offering compassionate care for patients close to home.

Our pride is reflected in our experienced staff and clinicians, as well as through the warm, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Taking care of the patient - physically, mentally, and emotionally - contributes to the overall health and well-being of the patient.

"St. Francis is the one and only medical center in our area providing a dedicated Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (NS ICU) for a higher level of care," Dr. Bernie McHugh Neurosurgery said. "This new unit is strictly for the treatment of neurosurgical patients in a critical care setting."

Neuroscience case studies are presented and discussed weekly in a collaborative effort between physicians and staff that are involved in providing care for neuroscience patients. These studies have been very successful in improving quality and coordination of patient care. What makes Neuroscience Services at St. Francis so effective is the emphasis on technology, coordination and quality while providing complete patient care in a timely manner, close to home, and near family and friends.

An expert staff of neurosurgeons, a neuroradiologist, neurologists, the area's only pediatric neurologist, and physiatrists, together with our certified nursing staff and clinical support team, provides highly specialized care 24/7 for patients affected by diseases, disorders, and injuries that include:

  • Brain Aneurysm
  • Brain Tumor
  • Degenerative Spine Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Head Trauma
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Stroke

Our goal at St. Francis is to educate you and your loved ones on being able to recognize the signs of a stroke.

What is stroke?

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 4 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) is needs, so it starts to die.

What are the types of stroke?

Stroke can be caused either by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (called an ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke). A TIA (transient ischemic attack), or "mini-stroke", is caused by a temporary clot.

What are the effects of stroke?

The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions. If a stroke occurs and blood flow can't reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won't work as it should.

Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke. When you can spot the signs, you'll know quickly that you need to call 911 for help. This is important because the sooner a stroke victim gets to the hospital, the sooner they'll get treatment. And that can make a remarkable difference in their recovery.

F.A.S.T. is:

Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time to call 911 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Stroke Risk Factors

Stroke risk factors that can not be changed include age, heredity (family history), race, gender and prior stroke, TIA or heart attack. Risk factors that can be changed, treated or controlled include the following:

  • high blood pressure
  • cigarette smoking
  • diabetes mellitus
  • carotid or other artery disease
  • peripheral artery disease
  • atrial fibrillation
  • other heart disease
  • Sickle Cell disease
  • high blood cholesterol
  • poor diet
  • physical inactivity and obesity

Stroke and Women

There are other risk factors for stroke that are especially important for women under the age of 55 to be aware of:

  • migraines
  • birth control pills
  • hormone replacement therapy
  • autoimmune diseases (diabetes, lupus)
  • clotting disorders

Risk factors are cumulative, and reducing even one risk can lower your chances of having a stroke!

Talk with your healthcare provider about what you can do to lower your risk, then take action.