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Megan Fitzgerald '16
Megan Fitzgerald '16

As hemophiliacs know, it can be quite dangerous when blood doesn’t clot. Yet, it can equally threatening when it does. Ischemia, the process of blood clots forming within the body, can be fatal if the clot blocks an artery or otherwise prohibits blood flow. Megan Fitzgerald ’16, a neuroscience major, is an intern assisting with a study of ischemic stroke victims as part of the Inova Neuroscience Research Program in Falls Church, Va. Fitzgerald’s internship is funded through the support of Drew Days ’63.

Fitzgerald is working at the Inova Fairfax Stroke Unit on a study titled "The Relationship Between Onset-to-Door Time (ONT) and Door-to-Needle Time (DNT) in Patients Admitted with Ischemic Stroke." She has been reading background literature on the topic and will be collecting data from electronic medical records, in order to run statistics for the study. “By determining the relationship between ODT and DNT, [we] ultimately [hope to] decrease the time between admittance and intravenous treatment,” Fitzgerald explained.

“This study interests me,” she continued, “because the phrase ‘time is brain’ really comes to life” especially in patients with strokes or traumatic brain injuries. “I think it is important for individuals to know how serious the loss of oxygen and glucose to the brain is during a stroke,” Fitzgerald cautioned, “and how important it is to get them treated as soon as possible to save as many neurons as possible!”

Every Thursday, Fitzgerald attends the guest lecture series sponsored by Inova; “this internship has been very eye-opening for me,” she concluded, “it has been fulfilling to see that my classes at Hamilton allow me to follow along and ask questions at the guest lecture series.” Fitzgerald would like to become a physician or nurse practitioner after graduation from Hamilton, and said that “it has been fascinating to learn more about the research process and the time it takes to do clinical studies.”

Megan Fitzgerald is a graduate of the Madeira School in McLean, Va.

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