Both Fung and hospital officials declined to state the amount of the donation, citing his family's wish for privacy.
Fung was candid about the hospital's stroke response when he joined the hospital in 2004, telling the Voice that the program was on the brink of failure. The outside group that judges the hospital's performance, the Joint Commission, was potentially going to revoke El Camino's designation as a primary stroke center, which is a state-level designation that proves a hospital has the know-how and the resources to handle acute stroke patients.
Now the hospital falls within the top 5 percent of hospitals, Fung said, with the ability to go from admitting a patient to life-saving operations like a thrombectomy — or blood clot removal — within 45 minutes.
Although education, training and manpower are all important components of the hospital's response to stroke patients, Fung said he believes the biggest difference is a change of attitude and recognizing the importance of fast and concerted response times for stroke care. It's a major undertaking with multidisciplinary staff for an emergency operation, and every second of delay has a huge influence on whether patients survive and, if they do, how much damage occurs in the brain. He said it's likely that when a stroke alert is called, the pagers of about 12 essential medical staff are going off all at once.
"It's almost like an air raid, everyone is running in all different directions," Fung said. "But we're able to do that now, and very well."
Fung previously had a strong, hands-on influence of the hospital's stroke response, acting as the director of the stroke program through the end of 2014. When he successfully ran for public office as a board member for the El Camino Healthcare District — which encompasses Mountain View, Los Altos and Sunnyvale — he had to resign from his position in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
Past hospital board documents indicate that the hospital's leadership had leaned on Fung's expertise for the two-year accreditation from the Joint Commission in 2011, hiring him as a consultant on a short-term basis for the performance review even though Fung had decided not to continue as the medical director.
While the focus has been on surgical operations and emergency response times, strokes are largely preventable, and Fung said he hopes the hospital's stroke center can be a strong resource for education and prevention. Healthy lifestyles, reducing blood pressure, controlling diabetes and managing cholesterol levels all play a role in keeping patients out of the hospital in the first place, and his hope is that community events and speaker series may be able to help.
But if a patient appears to be suffering from a stroke, Fung urged residents not to delay.
"You wait one minute, you lose 2 million brain cells," he said. "Quickly call 911, don't attempt to drive, don't attempt to get your family to drive. We have this great service, paid by your tax dollars, use it."
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