MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
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Memorial Hospital Central Saturday, January 28, 2012. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

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UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central has become the only Colorado hospital outside of the Denver area to receive a Comprehensive Stroke Center designation, the hospital announced Tuesday.

The new designation means Memorial can care for the most severe strokes on a 24/7 basis, said Dr. Jose Melendez, the hospital's chief medical officer.

"Every minute (after a stroke) is brain cells that are dying," Melendez said. "So the fact that we can take care of it right here in Colorado Springs is a huge thing."

Work to receive the designation from DNV GL Healthcare began about three years ago. Along with around-the-clock intensive stroke care, the hospital also operates a Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit, as well as rehabilitation and speech therapy services.

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Public safety net reporter