MRHC doctor discusses brain health, rehabilitation

ADRIAN O'HANLON III | Staff photoDr. Pedro Cardich discusses brain health and rehabilitation at the McAlester Regional Health Center.

Patients recovering from neurological problems near Pittsburg County have comprehensive treatment available.

Dr. Pedro Cardich, a Southeast Clinic neurologist and medical director for McAlester in-patient rehab facility, said rehab patients usually stay 10-14 days, so having comprehensive services in McAlester benefits patients and their families in the area.

“It’s better for the families to be close, plus the family support is very essential in rehabilitation,” Cardich said. “And sometimes we have to train the families when they are going to treat the patient at home.”

Brain health will come to the forefront in March, which is the month designation as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and Brain Injury Awareness Month.

McAlester Regional Health Center's Southeast Clinic offers treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, brain tumors, concussions, epilepsy and seizure disorders, migraines and cluster headaches, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, spinal cord injuries, stroke and cerebrovascular diseases, and more.

Dr. Cardich graduated from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico, and completed neurosurgeon residency in Peru in 1988 before completing neurology residency in 1993 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. He worked a brief stint in Oklahoma around 2000 and after working several more years in Miami, he decided to return to the state in 2011 to focus on providing health care to rural areas.

Cardich said stroke victims are some of the most common he treats in McAlester.

Stroke kills about 140,000 Americans per year with someone dying of strokes every four minutes, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the United States with someone having a stroke every 40 seconds.

Time is also a factor with the closest comprehensive stroke centers to Pittsburg County being in Tulsa and Sherman, Texas.

“The quicker we can provide attention to that patient, the outcomes have shown it is a lot better in that area for treatment,” Cardich said.

Cardich said common risk factors of stroke include hypertension, diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and more.

He said a smoker has twice the chance of having a stroke, adding sedentary lifestyles contribute to poor health.

Patients with appointments at the Southeast Clinic receive a reminder phone call the previous night. MRHC offers MRI, CAT scan, CT scans, angiograms, and other testing options.

Cardich reviews the charts for rehab patients in acute recovery, which requires at least three and a half hours of daily rehabilitation. Rehab services are available at the facility and inpatient rehab is inside the hospital to offer immediate service.

The Southeast Clinic trains families how to change the patient’s clothes, how to transfer from and to the bed, how to operate equipment, how to feed patients at home, and more. Homes also must be evaluated for proper equipment and facilities.

MRHC officials said the Southeast Clinic Neurology sees more than eight patients per day, which boomed from less than two patients per day from this time last year. So what made the difference?

“The staff is more stable…and our name is starting to spread even all the way to Texas,” Cardich said.

Cardich said there are about eight on the physical therapy team, eight in occupational therapy, and two in speech therapy, plus students from different disciplines.

“We try to provide comprehensive or holistic care in rehabilitation,” Cardich said. “And also how to reconnect with society.”

The Southeast Clinic can be reached at 918-421-4891.

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“We have to develop a program in the community about prevention, so I’m thinking about lectures in different areas with groups of people,” Cardich said.

Contact Adrian O'Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com