What’s Up Doc - An Interview with Neurologist Rod Spencer, MD

Rod Spencer, MD, Neurologist at Sky Ridge Medical CenterQ: You are a neurologist. Please tell us why you chose this area of expertise?

A: Since college I have been interested in the neurosciences, this was magnified prior to medical school when I read the book Gifted Hands by Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. Once I entered medical school, I had the opportunity to spend more than a month working with and being mentored by Dr. Carson. My love for neurology and neurosurgery continued to grow exponentially from that point on.

Q: Tell us how our stroke technology is helping our community?

A: First and foremost, our stroke program’s overall success in helping our community has been made possible by the dedication of EMS/First Responders, ED staff and Nurse Practitioners in conjunction with 24/7 Neurology coverage.

One key component is our telemedicine service. This technology has no boundaries in terms of distances covered as we can literally be thousands of miles away and provide assistance to patients, hospitals and communities all over the world. Locally this allows rapid virtual neurologic assessment for acute stroke patients within minutes of their arrival to the emergency department. Some national research has shown that stroke neurologists using this technology can be more than 95% accurate in making correct thrombolysis eligibility decisions.

Q: What are the key things we can all do to keep our brains safe?


  • Eat and live healthy
  • Effectively and consistently treat underlying risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
  • Avoid smoking
  • Make yourself aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke such as face droop, slurred speech, weakness

Q: Would you share some interesting stats on our stroke program?


  • The program has grown tremendously with a 24% increase in volume since 2011.
  • The average length of stay for a stroke patient at Sky Ridge is 3.69 days, HCA continental division is 4.93 days and the national average is 5 days. In 2012, more than 60% of our patients went home and of those only 15% required home health.
  • Our Door to TPA time for 2013 average is less than 45 minutes. The national goal is less than 60 minutes. This means we are doing a fantastic job at quickly assessing the patient and administering thrombolytic therapy in eligible stroke candidates.

Q: What do you enjoy doing when you are not caring for patients?

A: Spending time with my wife and 7 month old son, watching movies and going to a Denver Nuggets game when we have the chance.

View Dr. Spencer's Bio