Stroke Screening Tools Influence in EMS – Hunter Harbold

Education by the Sea 2024 - Speaker Spotlight - Hunter

Texas’ most engaging EMS conference is approaching swiftly! Education By The Sea arrives in Port Aransas on May 8-10, 2024, and registrations are open through mid-April. Dive into the details of the 2024 conference through our sneak peek series featuring speakers and sessions. 

Meet Hunter Harbold, Paramedic and EMS Educator for Parker County Hospital District EMS. He will present the “Large Vessel Occlusion Stroke Screening Tools and How They Influence EMS Treatment and Transport Decisions” session on Friday, May 10, at 10 a.m.

From a young age, Harbold knew his calling lay in helping others through medicine. Raised in a family with a background in EMS and public safety, he followed in their footsteps. For nine years, Harbold served communities as a paramedic, Field Training Officer (FTO), and EMS educator before starting medical school. Now in his 3rd year of medical school, he aspires to complete his residency in Emergency Medicine and work as an EMS and ER physician.

Harbold dedicates his limited free time to teaching EMTs and paramedics. He leads a paramedic education program with a set record of high graduation rates and low attrition. “We worked hard to have a program that functioned for all our students. I know that what we share with our students echoes in their community, making a difference in many lives,” he remarks. 

Working with EMS has taught Harbold invaluable lessons. However, he states that the most significant lesson he learned was: “Emergency medicine is vast and sacred. As EMS professionals, we get to learn something from every patient we serve,” reflects Harbold.

Reasoning Behind the Topic 

“For stroke patients, time is of the essence. A delay in appropriate care can have devastating consequences for the patient and their family,” observes Harbold. His session will approach recent research on large vessel occlusion strokes and their screening tools. “With these new screening tools, EMS agencies face the challenge of deciding whether to transport patients to the nearest hospital or the most suitable comprehensive stroke center,” he explains. 

According to Harbold, selecting the appropriate destination for stroke patients is a complex decision for paramedics. However, with new literature and screening tools, it becomes feasible to direct patients to the most fitting hospital. “Ultimately, this saves time and enables appropriate intervention for the patient’s condition,” he concludes.

Session Insights

Harbold’s session will cover three main subjects: general stroke pathophysiology, available treatments, and stroke screening tools. He will delve into the different levels of stroke treatment centers, their capabilities, and the implementation of screening tools in the field to facilitate transport decisions.

“My goal with this presentation is to educate on large vessel occlusion strokes, as this topic may be unfamiliar to some EMS providers. For agencies not utilizing large vessel occlusion screening tools, I hope this lecture empowers them to engage with their leadership to explore the possibility of implementing these tools in their communities,” says Harbold.

Industry Outlook

The medical student perceives a promising future for the EMS industry. “Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed an era of enlightenment in EMS where we rely more heavily on evidence-based medicine and increased engagement in research to develop best practices,” Harbold notes. 

He is enthusiastic about the adoption of cutting-edge technology and protocols in the field. “These innovations are undoubtedly saving lives and improving outcomes,” defends. However, he acknowledges that securing adequate funding remains one of the biggest challenges in this industry. “If we look at a challenge our industry has faced and continues to face, this challenge is funding. As public consumption and reliance on quality EMS Care grows, increasing funding is something I hope to see,” he concludes. 

Don’t miss Paramedic Harbold’s “Large Vessel Occlusion Stroke Screening Tools and How They Influence EMS Treatment and Transport Decisions” session on Friday, May 10, at 10 a.m.

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