TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Neurologists treat patients for a variety of conditions, from Parkinson's to Alzheimer' to stroke, which is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States
Studies show, by 2025 there will be a near-20 percent shortage of neurologists.
"Our community needs neurologists. Not just in Toledo, but all of northwest Ohio. Mercy being part of Ohio, Kentucky, network of hospitals, we really need it throughout all our facilities," said the V.P. of Academic Affairs for Mercy Health Toledo Region, Dr. Randall Schlievert.
Mercy Health is working to meet the demand, starting a new residency program at Mercy St. Vincent Hospital to train future neurologists. Four residents a year will go through the four year training program.
"What this allows us to do is to bring these folks in, train them. We know that at least in northwest Ohio, doctors who train in northwest Ohio, often stay in northwest Ohio," said Dr. Schlievert.
Dr. Schlievert said these new neurologists could eventually serve patients in smaller communities where they can have stroke care in their backyard.
"It'll save their lives because that golden hour of stroke, just like a heart attack or trauma, needs that acute care immediately," he said.
So what's the reason for this projected shortage? Dr. Schlievert said many local neurologists are close to retiring, plus, physician burnout is also a major issue.
"We lose a physician then that's obviously ten thousand patients, to maybe 20 thousand patients who just lost their doctor," said Dr. Schlievert.
The residency program starts in July. Dr. Schlievert said dozens of candidates have already applied.