Raleigh General Neurologist Discusses Her Work in the Area

September 24, 2018

Dr. Elizabeth Bass, a neurologist at Raleigh General Hospital, recently shared more about her work with The Register-Herald and the types of cases she typically sees in southern West Virginia. 

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Tell us more about your background and your work as a neurologist.

I went to medical school at Ross University and then completed my Internal Medicine internship year and an additional three years of Neurology training during my four-year residency at Virginia Commonwealth University.

What exactly does a neurologist do?

A neurologist treats conditions that affect either the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) or peripheral nervous system (nerves in our arms, legs, face, etc). This ranges from acute emergencies like strokes and seizures to more chronic problems like peripheral neuropathy and headaches.

Can you tell me more about the types of services you offer at Raleigh General?

I am a neuro-hospitalist, which means my services are dedicated to patients who are seen in the emergency room or are admitted to the hospital. I am available for consultation when patients come in with stroke symptoms, seizures, confusion, headaches, neuropathy, or any other neurologic symptom that the other doctors at Raleigh General have questions about. Because I am always available to the patients at Raleigh General when I am working, I do not have an outpatient practice.

What are the most common neurological conditions you see in southern West Virginia?

Strokes are definitely the most common neurologic condition I see. Also common are headaches and seizures as well as confusion.

Is there any reason, or common cause, why these conditions are more prevalent in this region?

With an aging population throughout the country, and many people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and tobacco use, the incidence of stroke is on the rise. Diet plays a big role as well. An unhealthy diet will worsen conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, which in turn increase your chances of having a stroke.

In what ways are you as a neurologist, or Raleigh General as a hospital, working to prevent or better treat these conditions?

I counsel every patient I see on ways to help prevent them from having strokes, breakthrough seizures, breakthrough migraines, etc. We discuss how not taking your medications or continuing smoking or not eating right could cause another stroke. We discuss ways to make sure they are safe in their home so they don’t injure themselves during a seizure. On a larger scale, Raleigh General holds community outreach and education programs.

Do you have any general wellness tips of suggestions for preventative care in terms of neurology?

My most important advice to everyone is “Don’t Wait!” If you are having a stroke, we only have between three to four and a half hours to give the powerful medication to break up the clot and hopefully restore function. Every minute counts. After that, we can still help but not as much as if you had come in quickly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been heartbroken hearing how a patient decided they would wait for a few hours to see if the symptoms got better and passed the time we could give the clot-busting medication. I would much rather see a patient come into the emergency room and have it turn out to be nothing then see a patient not get help when having a stroke.

By Wendy Holdren, The Register Herald

Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren