Stroke survivor, Gwendolyn Johnson, was getting dressed one morning when she suddenly felt like she couldn’t move. Her husband quickly called 911. Once EMS arrived it was apparent that she was having a stroke so they transported her directly to the stroke center where Dr. Dileep Yavagal, stroke neurologist at the University of Miami Health System, treated her.
If not for him, she says she would not be alive and would not have “come out as well as I did.”
Dr. Yavagal, explains that it is important for emergency response teams to recognize stroke symptoms so that the patient can be treated as quickly as possible. “This bypass that EMS does where they just bypass the nearest hospital and bring the patient to the comprehensive stroke center allows patients to rapidly get into the stroke chain of survival,” he says. Once there, the stroke team can perform imaging tests to find the blocked blood vessel and then remove the blood clot.
The faster a stroke is recognized and treated, the greater the chance the patient will survive. A rapid response also increases the probability of long term disabilities like speech functions and paralysis. Because of this, the American Heart Association created the “Stroke Chain of Survival,” which lays out a streamlined approach to stroke care.
If you see a loved one whose speech is slurred or who is acting out of the ordinary, Hialeah Fire Chief Patrick Flynn says not to be afraid to call 911. They can get the patient to the hospital faster than taking them yourself.
Video summary compiled by Natasha Bright, contributing writer for UMiamiHealth News.