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Spirit of Excellence Award winners and nominees 2020

 

In 2020, 20 healthcare professionals from all over Europe were nominated for the Spirit of Excellence Award, given annually to those who embody excellence in stroke care and strive to raise the standard of excellence in their hospitals. Meet the nominees and the winners.

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Aleš Tomek
Deputy Director of the Neurology Department at Charles University in Prague
Repubblica Ceca

Angels consultant Robert Halvada says: ‘Aleš Tomek is a leader, a strokologist and president of the Stroke Society. He really shares the ideology of the Angels Initiative. He has been building the stroke community throughout his career, not only among neurologists but also among nurses and EMS professonals. He really supports us in all the education activities and simulations, and he is the face of awareness campaigns. Aleš is able to think beyond the horizon, and therefore he knows that the cross-collaboration between different societies and entities is crucial for the improvement of stroke care.’

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Alexandra Botsina
Head of the Stroke Department at IV Davydovsky Hospital in Moscow
Russia

‘For me, excellence in stroke care is teamwork. This is the only way to save lives and to reach the best functional recovery for patients through reperfusion techniques and an early start to rehabilitation. With the support of the Angels Initiative and the quality monitoring programme RES-Q, we can see our results and outcomes, analyse them and make improvements. As a result, this year we have received Diamond status. For me, being nominated for the Spirit of Excellence Award means recognition of the professional community and the knowledge that we are doing things the right way.’

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Carlos Molina (WINNER)
Director of the Stroke Unit and Brain Hemodynamics at Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona
Spagna

‘Excellence in stroke care means a continuous effort. We have to work very hard on a daily basis to improve our pathways of care to achieve a better outcome for our patients. It’s a daily task. So I joined the Angels Initiative and since then we have worked very hard as a team, not only here in Catalonia but in Spain, to both improve and implement stroke hospitals and to improve the time to reperfusion. And we did it.’

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Dimitrii Seropegin
Head of Comprehensive Stroke Center in Moscow
Russia

‘Being nominated for the Spirit of Excellence Award means not only recognition for me but also recognition for the entire staff of the centre as well as recognition for the hospital staff and the staff of the health department who in these difficult times found the strength and the means to improve the treatment for patients suffering ischemic stroke. While in the past a stroke diagnosis for these patients was almost a sentence, at the moment we are able to not only give them hope but also to supply very good treatment, leading to full recovery.’

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Evija Miglane (WINNER)
Head of Neurology Department in Riga
Lettonia

‘Excellence in stroke care means to involve the right people – people who are interested in stroke, competent teams who can act fast in an acute situation. Suffering a stroke is one of the most devastating medical emergencies that can happen to a person. We need to do everything to improve stroke care in our country. Being nominated for the Spirit of Excellence Award for me is a great honour, and I am also very pleased that the work we do to improve stroke care in Latvia is appreciated.’

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Francesca Romana Pezzellan (WINNER)
Department of Neuroscience, San Camillo Forlanini Hospital, Rome
Italia

‘Excellence in stroke care for me is mainly about commitment – the commitment to fight against stroke. It is not only the acute phase, but the whole continuum of care, starting from primary prevention and ending with life after stroke. The Spirit of Excellence Award would not only mean acknowledgement for me and for my hospital; it would be an acknowledgement of a certain way of carrying out activities and of carrying out our commitment against stroke – to fight stroke, to implement new technologies, to implement guidelines and to help people improve their quality of life after a stroke.’

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László Szapáry
Associate Professor at the Neurology Department of University of Pécs Medical School
Ungheria

‘In my opinion the most important task of a stroke specialist is to organize prehospital and in-hospital stroke management as optimally as possible. Therefore, I think that an excellent stroke specialist has high quality professional knowledge, quick decision-making every day, and excellent organizational skills. A Spirit of Excellence Award I believe would not be about my personal activity being acknowledged but rather the high level of stroke care and the results and development of stroke care in Hungary.’

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Noelia Muñoz & Roberto Valverde
Head of Intensive Care Unit & Neurology Medical Specialist at Hospital Cruz Roja in Cordóba
Spagna

Dr Muñoz: ‘I strongly believe in the chain of survival. This chain of survival refers to a series of actions that properly executed reduce the mortality associated with stroke. We wanted to become better because of our patient. We are doing what we are doing because of him. More than us saving the life of the stroke patient, the stroke patient saved us.’

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Paola Santalucia
Head of the Neurology Department at San Giuseppe Hospital, Milan
Italia

‘Excellence in stroke care means giving the stroke patient the chance to go back to his normal life. Since I joined the Angels Initiative I have worked in different Italian hospitals – different hospitals, different contexts, different people, but the same need to improve stroke care for patients. I would be very pleased and honoured to receive the Spirit of Excellence Award. Like any award it means public recognition and appreciation – more than for my work, for the spirit and motivation of what I do.’

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Tatiana Sergeeva
Head of Comprehensive Stroke Unit in St Petersburg
Russia

‘Over the past four years we have seen an increase in the number of thrombolysis procedures at our hospital, from 1,7% in 2015 to 12,17% in 2019. In 2019 our centre ranked first in Russia for performing the most thrombectomies, namely 161. Excellence in stroke care to means control over the disease leading to the best outcomes. Knowledge must pass from one person to another. There are times to learn and times to teach. There are times to gain experience and to share it.’

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Małgorzata Fudala (WINNER)
Head of Neurology and Stroke Unit Department at Skarżysko-Kamienna Hospital
Polonia

‘Excellence in stroke treatment for me means quick responses and effective treatment, the ability to make the right clinical decisions, as well as quality monitoring one’s work. The Spirit of Excellence Award would be a superb form of appreciation for the entire team who go above and beyond what many medics consider the standard. Furthermore, the honour would be an excellent morale boost on the way to stroke treatment excellence. It is vital for me to say that I am so proud of my team. Part of being a medical worker is picking yourself up, dusting off the grime of tragedy and providing the most excellent care possible. After all, the world needs Angels.’

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António Costa
Stroke Unit Nurse in Faro
Portogallo

‘We joined Angels in 2016. Our improvement was immediate, with a decrease in the time it took for the patient to receive care, through the implementation of excellence protocols, good medical practices and sharing our knowledge with other health professionals and care facilities. The Spirit of Excellence Award would motivate our team and expand our responsibility, because there is always room for improvement.’

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Elena Terecoasa
Neurology Medical Specialist in Bucharest
Romania

‘I am truly honoured to be nominated for the Angels Spirit of Excellence Award. For me, excellence in stroke care is equal to a system – a system that starts before the patient even has a stroke. In the past four years huge improvements in the treatment of acute stroke have taken place in Romania, and part of that was due to the Angels project. When I think about my hospital, in 2016 we were treating around 50 patients with thrombolysis per year, with a door-to-needle time of around 90 minutes. Now we are treating more than 200 patients per year with a door-to-needle time that is frequently and in the majority of cases under 40 minutes. I truly hope that together with the Angels team we will manage to further improve stroke care in Romania.’

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Estela Sanjuan
Coordinator of the GEN-SEDENE nursing neurovascular group
Spagna

‘Excellent stroke care means well-trained professionals, teamwork, resources, teaching, research and innovation. At my hospital we participated in the QASC study. It was very interesting to participate, and I was also a member of the steering committee, so with SEDENE we could implement that in several hospitals.’

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Matej Polák (WINNER)
Head of EMS and Ambulance Association
Slovacchia

‘Before the Angels Initiative five years ago, stroke was not perceived by paramedics as a real urgent case or something where they could make a positive difference for the patient. But nowadays stroke is treated by paramedics as a real emergency case, with the time pressure and the intense cooperation among the healthcare professionals involved. Nowadays paramedics are aware of their crucial role in saving stroke patients’ lives. Winning the Spirit of Excellence Awards for me would be a confirmation of my vision, that no matter who you are, whether you are a neurologist, nurse or paramedic, whether you are from a supermodern hospital or one that still has a long way to go, whether you are from a rich country or not, just by your dedication and everyday focus on improving the small things, you can really make a great positive change.’

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Olena Kucheriavenko
Head of Neurology at Sumy Central City Hospital
Ucraina

‘Providing high quality care to stroke patients means clear coordination with the emergency service, and a skilled stroke team – a team of likeminded people going in the same direction with the same aim, to give life a chance. After joining the Angels Initiative, we received training and attended courses that helped us not only improve our knowledge, but also standardize our procedures for providing treatment to stroke patients. Receiving the Spirit of Excellence Award would be a great recognition – an appreciation of my work and the join work of my team. The Spirit of Exellence Award is an accomplishment and an inspiration.’

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Yourdan Karaivanov & Atanas Mitkov
Head of the Neurological Unit at the Dr. Atanas Dafovski Hospital & Head of EMS Association, Kardzhali District
Bulgaria

Angels consultant Desislava Hlebarska says: ‘Our country’s nomination for the Spirit of Excellence Awards in 2020 is Dr Yourdan Karaivanov and Atanas Mitkov from Kardzhali. Dr Karaivanov is head of the neurology department in the local hospital. Dr Mitkov is head of the emergency medical services in the same region. Together they are an inspiring example of what cooperation between hospital and EMS should look like. For the past two years they have joined forces to give every stroke patient in the region the best possible care. In this short period, they have transformed the local hospital from a non-treating one to the sixth-best-performing hospital in our country.’

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Giovanni Malferrari
Chief of Stroke Unit at Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in Reggio Emilia
Italia

 

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