Meet Dr. Mehari Gebreyohanns
Stroke specialist in Dallas
Mehari Gebreyohanns, M.D., is on a mission to bring UT Southwestern's superior stroke care and education to communities throughout North Texas—even those 100 miles away from his hospital’s walls.
Dr. Gebreyohanns was drawn to stroke care by the challenges and rewards of caring for patients with a complex and potentially devastating disease.
"Stroke is intertwined with other chronic conditions – hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes,” he says. “As a stroke neurologist I have to be knowledgeable about those problems, not just stroke, and I need to collaborate with specialists in those fields.
“The worldwide burden of stroke in terms of death, disability, and financial strain is profound,” he says. “I’m proud to play a role in reducing that burden for my patients.”
As the director of UT Southwestern’s stroke outreach and telestroke programs, Dr. Gebreyohanns is intent on sharing with other hospitals the expertise his local patients receive.
“Patients in underserved communities deserve this same quality of health care; we at UT Southwestern can make that happen by partnering with those hospitals," he says.
The telestroke outreach program allows physicians at community hospitals to consult with UT Southwestern neurologists at a moment's notice, and it provides patients in these hospitals with rapid, high-quality stroke care from certified vascular neurologists.
"We connect through our handheld devices, so that wherever we are – in our car, at lunch, or where ever – if there’s an Internet connection, we can see the patient right away,” Dr. Gebreyohanns says.
On the patient's end, a robot with a high-resolution, remote-controlled camera allows the UT stroke neurologist to perform a detailed examination.
"The patients can see us too; they can put our names with our faces, so we establish a real relationship."
Dr. Gebreyohanns says the thrill of helping a stroke patient achieve the best outcome possible never goes away.
“A very important part of my job is to ease the distress of patients and their families at their most vulnerable moment, when many times they don’t know what happened to them or what their life is going to look like from here,” he says. “To gain and maintain the trust of these patients and their families is an awesome privilege and a great responsibility. I remind myself of that every day.”