Living close to a primary stroke center can make all the difference

  • Tuesday, June 5, 2012

William Passmore had just started his work as a pipefitter at Mead Westvaco when he suddenly felt dizzy and fell into a table. Passmore didn’t seem like a likely stroke candidate. He is just 54 and keeps in good physical shape. But he had clas- sic symptoms: paralysis in his left arm and leg, and a droop to the left side of his face. The diagnosis was clear-cut, and that would work in his favor. EMS rushed him to Trident Medical Center (TMC), where the Emergency Department (ED) was ready to do a CT-scan of his brain. If they could rule out hemorrhaging, they could give him the clot-busting drug t-PA, but only if he met certain criteria, and only if they could start it within three hours of the onset of his symptoms. “Time is of the utmost importance,” says Dr. Preston Wendell, the ED physician who served as quarterback for the emergency response on the case. The team also included nurses, a radiologist and neurologist Dr. Thomas Privett. In consultation with Passmore, who was still able to talk, and his wife, Jenny, who happens to be a case manager at the hospital, they moved forward with the t-PA treatment and saw quick results. “In probably two hours, I was moving my leg, and in three, I was picking my arm up, and it’s progressively gotten better,” says Passmore. “That medicine and the quick response of the people at the hospital and in the ambulance saved me. They are the reason I’m walking and talking.” Passmore has been able to return to favorite activities – fishing, golf and building hot rod cars – just weeks into his recovery. But the fact that a strong man such as Passmoore suffered a stroke in his early 50s has led friends to look at their own risk factors for stroke. Passmore feels lucky to live in such close proximity to a primary stroke center. In addition to Trident, Summerville Medical Center is also a primary stroke center. About 795,000 Americans will suffer a stroke this year, yet most people in the U.S. cannot identify stroke warning signs or risk factors. On May 16, TMC will highlight National Stroke Awareness Month by offering a free stroke prevention screening and lunch. The stroke prevention screenings will be available from 8:30-11:30 a.m. by appointment only. Screenings will include glucose, blood pressure, height, weight, BMI, stroke risk assessment, counseling and education related to risk factors. To reserve your free screening, please call 843-797-3463. At noon, Dr. Privett, the neurologist, will hold a free Stroke Prevention lunch event in Cafe´ B of TMC. The National Stroke Association says you should act FAST if you suspect you or someone you know is having a stroke. Use FAST to remember the warning signs. F – FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? A – ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? S – SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a sim- ple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange? T – TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. For medical questions or a free physician refer- ral, please call 843-797-3463. 

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