Time is key when having a stroke

Sunday, May 25, 2014

  J’Dun Hill’s quick action helped save the life of his great grandmother, Brenda Brooks, when she was having a stroke. Brooks was rushed to Hamilton Medical Center where she received quick treatment, including a brain-saving drug. J’Dun and Brooks are pictured.
J’Dun Hill’s quick action helped save the life of his great grandmother, Brenda Brooks, when she was having a stroke. Brooks was rushed to Hamilton Medical Center where she received quick treatment, including a brain-saving drug. J’Dun and Brooks are pictured.

click - for larger image - FAST signs of a stroke

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DALTON, Ga. – Brenda Brooks, physical therapy assistant for Hamilton Medical Center (HMC) was recently spending time with J’Dun Hill, her 9-year-old great grandson, when he noticed that something was wrong.

Brooks had facial droop, weakness on her right side and speech problems. J’Dun recognized these as symptoms of a stroke because he and Brooks had been learning them from a FAST (an acronym standing for face, arms, speech and time) magnet that Brooks has on her refrigerator.

J’Dun called 911. “Hurry up. My great grandmother is having a stroke!” he said to the 911 operator.

“I am so glad that J’Dun and I were studying the stroke signs from the FAST magnet,” Brooks said. “He was the one who saved my life!”
 
Hamilton Emergency Medical Services called a Code Stroke from the field, and Brooks was rushed to the HMC Emergency Department. She was quickly taken to get a CT scan.

Juan Gonzalez, MD, was on call and ordered tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), a brain-saving drug. Brooks received the drug 37 minutes after her arrival to the Emergency Department. Her stroke symptoms began to resolve quickly.

The following morning, she had an MRI of the brain that revealed no tissue damage. Timeliness of administering the drug helps prevent brain tissue from dying.

“I could not have any better care,” said Brooks. “Because 911, EMS and the ED (Emergency Department) communicated quickly and well, the Code Stroke was enacted, and my life was saved.  The staff members work hard for you as a patient.”
 
Brooks was discharged less than 48 hours after arrival to HMC. She was back at work by the fifth day with no residual issues from the stroke.

HMC recently received The Joint Commission’s Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers. This distinction recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.

“If you see the signs of stroke, don’t delay in calling 911 and letting them know that you are having signs of a stroke,” Brooks said.  “Also, talk to your family and friends and ensure they know the signs of a stroke as well.  They just might save your life.”