Fort Walton Beach Medical Center

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is a 257-bed hospital located in Fort Walton Beach in the panhandle of Northwest Florida.


Know the Warning Signs of Stroke - It's No Laughing Matter!

You know how we joke around and say ‘I almost had a stroke’? Well, it’s not really funny if you or someone you love actually has one. And there’s no time for humor from the onset of symptoms until the stroke victim is receiving qualified medical help. According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

First, it’s important to understand what a stroke is. It’s a brain injury caused by the interruption of blood flow. And because the brain isn’t getting oxygen and nutrients from blood, a stroke victim’s brain tissue can begin to die within minutes. When it comes to a stroke, time lost is brain lost. So recognizing the signs of stroke and acting quickly literally saves the brain and offers the best chance of recovery.

An easy way to remember the signs and what to do if you suspect someone is having a stroke is to us the American Heart/American Stroke Association’s F.A.S.T. approach to recognizing this potentially fatal attack.

Face Drooping: Is one side of the person’s face drooping or numb? Ask the person to smile and see if one side doesn’t move up.

Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms and see if one drifts down.

Speech Difficulty: Is their speech slurred? Are they unable to speak or understand? Ask the person to say a simple sentence like ‘the sky is blue.’

Time to call 911: Even if you think symptoms are subsiding, call 911 and get the person to the hospital as quickly as possible for care. Check the time so that you can let the medical personnel know when the symptoms started.

Getting immediate treatment for a stroke is necessary to open the blocked blood vessel that caused it. The sooner blood flow is restored, the more likely the person will benefit from a reduction in the chance of a stroke in the future, improved function affected by the stroke, and be able to overcome disabilities caused by the stroke.

Remember time lost is brain lost. For more information on the warning signs of stroke or services offered at our hospital for stroke patients, call our toll free health information and physician referral line at 850-864-0213.

Celebrating Nurses and the Hospital Team in May

Health care is hard work! There’s no doubt that anyone working in our local hospital puts a great deal of effort into caring for patients. Whether it’s the nurse who administers medications, the technician who performs tests, the food services employee who delivers our meals, or the housekeeper who cleans our room, each of them play a significant role in our stay as a patient when we’re admitted to the hospital. We might be touched by the social worker or case manager who helps manage our stay and plan our discharge. We might interact with nursing assistants, monitor technicians, or surgical staff. And employees in the business office and other support services have responsibilities associated with our stay as well.

To borrow a well-known phrase; ‘it takes a village’ to care for patients in the hospital. That’s why each year in May we celebrate both Nurses’ Week and Hospital Week to recognize the vital role these highly trained, compassionate individuals play in the good health of our community. This year’s theme for Hospital Week across the nation is ‘Where Miracles Happen, Every Day.’

You might not know that the first Hospital Day was held on May 12, 1921. The day was selected because it was also Florence Nightingale’s birthday. The special recognition was the idea of a Chicago magazine editor to encourage public trust in that city’s hospitals following the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. In 1953, Hospital Day expanded to Hospital Week and is now celebrated in every state and is sponsored by the America Hospital Association.

We also use Florence Nightingale’s birthday to specifically recognize nurses for the incredible role they play in caring for patients. Nightingale is credited as the founder of modern-day nursing. She became known as ‘the lady with the lamp’ during the Crimean War in 1850 while caring for wounded soldiers because of her regular nightly rounds. She taught other volunteers to properly care for patients and later established her own nursing school, the first of its kind, at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. We can thank Florence Nightingale for many of the initial advancements in hospital care.

So this month, take time to thank a modern-day Florence Nightingale and all of the hard-working employees who come together day and night in our hospitals to provide quality care for all and where they ensure that miracles truly do happen every day!

Mobile Health: Bringing Healthcare to Your Office

The project you've worked on for months is nearing completion and your presentation is in two days. There's only one problem; you've had a nagging cough that isn't getting better and you haven't had time to find a primary care physician. You don't even have time to make an appointment. Sound familiar? You're not alone. Nearly four out of ten employees with health insurance don't have a doctor.

Providing employees, especially those without a primary care physician, access to convenient, high quality urgent care is the motivation behind a new service of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, Twin Cities Hospital, and Niceville Family Practice – mobile health care. Mobile health care at the worksite addresses three primary needs in regards to employee health:

  1. The health of the employees and their co-workers.

A study by Staples found that 90 percent of office workers went to work sick, even though they knew they were ill. And, according to the study, they were only 60 percent as productive as they would have been if they were healthy.

  1. Convenience.

Many employees say the reason they don’t go to the doctor, even for an annual visit, is because they don’t want to wait for an appointment. Mobile health eliminates the need to drive to the doctor’s office.

  1. Help employees establish a relationship with a primary care physician.

Research shows patients who visit their doctor annually live longer, have a higher quality of life, and spend less on insurance than patients who don’t annually visit their doctor.

Providers from Niceville Family Practice tend to patients on the mobile clinic. Every patient who is seen on the mobile clinic receives a follow-up call from a care coordinator to confirm they understood the provider’s diagnosis, treatment, or any other information that was shared. Appointments on the mobile clinic are billed like they are at a traditional doctor’s office. Accepted insurance is Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and United Healthcare.

To learn more about Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital’s mobile health clinic and how it can fit into your employer's wellness plan, contact Rod Whiting at

Begin Your Journey to Health and Fitness with Us!

You can count on Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital to care for you and your family members when you’re ill or injured. But we’d like for you to count on us as a trusted resource for prevention and fitness as well! That’s why we’re happy to announce our 4 th Annual Community Health & Fitness Fair aimed at arming you with information you need for a healthy life.

For example, do you know your Body Mass Index, an indicator of healthy weight? Have you had your blood pressure checked recently? When was the last time you had a glucose test? Are those veins (that keep you from wearing shorts) also a potential health risk? We can help with all of those ‘need to do’s’ and all you have to do is show up!

On Wednesday, May 20 th, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., join us for this free event which, in addition to health screenings, will feature over 30 vendors and a plethora of information on your many health care options right here in the community. The event will be held at the Main Entrance of the Santa Rosa Mall in Mary Esther.

Grab your girlfriends and come on down to the mall on May 20 th. Begin your journey to health and fitness with us (then go shopping!). For more information on the 4 th Annual Community Health & Fitness Fair, follow us on social media or call 855-614-7274.

The Autism Spectrum

April is Autism Awareness Month and just understanding that there is a broad range for this disorder is the beginning of the awareness effort. ASD or autism spectrum disorder refers to a range of complex neurodevelopmental disorders which are most commonly identified by impairment in social interaction and communication development. It doesn’t mean that if your child is ‘shy’ there’s a problem. ASD has many characteristics, and can range from mild to severe. Diagnosis of the disorder requires a thorough exam and review of behaviors by a qualified professional.

But let’s face it, parents are the ‘experts’ when it comes to knowing, typically from just a gut feeling, that something isn’t right and their child may have a problem. It’s that instinct that parents should act on. Children might have other issues going on that could be either behavioral or physical that are not related to ASD so getting an accurate diagnosis, early on, is key to providing the right treatment for your child.

While the cause of ASD is still being studied and debated, treatment after diagnosis is available. Skilled therapists offer educational and behavioral training to help children develop skills and counsel families on how to best cope with and help their ASD child. There are medications that physicians can prescribe, particularly with severe cases of ASD. And while there are other therapies available, many of them are controversial and not supported by any true scientific studies.

The best approach for a parent who feels their child may be on the autism spectrum is to seek advice from a qualified pediatrician who can assist in the evaluation process which begins with simply reviewing the child’s behavior history. A more thorough exam involves a variety of disciplines to pinpoint the severity of ASD and what treatment will be most effective.

There are many studies on ASD that can be accessed online and by visiting the website of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For 24 hour health information, a physician referral or for more information about Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, please call 850-864-0213.

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