This guest post has been sponsored by Medical City Hospital.
During the holiday season, while decorating the Christmas tree and lighting the Hanukkah menorah, we all remember the loved ones who are no longer with us. We smile as we remember the special relatives who handed down family ornaments and latke recipes. Each holiday season, I think of my Grandma Dorothy. I think about how she made the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, let me eat sugary cereal for breakfast and taught me to play Rummikub and Uno. I am careful to think of the first 75 years of her life, when she was vibrant and witty, rather than the last four years of her life. During those last few years, she was paralyzed on one side of her body and unable to speak, the victim of a massive stroke.
The importance of recognizing stroke symptoms and a hospital’s ability to treat stroke victims is an issue very near to my heart. I’m proud to work for Medical City, which recently earned its Comprehensive Stroke Center certification from DNV, an international leader in quality certifications and he Texas Department of State Health Services. Being a Comprehensive Stroke Center, or Level 1 Stroke Center, means Medical City encompasses the full spectrum of stroke care, including diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and education.
In Texas, EMS teams are required by the state to bring patients to the nearest certified stroke center to help ensure the best possible care.
Specific stroke care can be provided at Medical City by stroke neurologists, neurosurgeons, interventional neuro-radiologists, specially-trained stroke nurses and a dedicated neurovascular intensive care unit.
If only the EMS crews who first saw my grandmother back in 1996 had taken her immediately to a Comprehensive Stroke Center, maybe she could have recovered. Instead, she sat in a doctor’s office for hours, while the symptom’s worsened and the stroke caused irreparable harm.
It’s important that you recognize the signs of stroke so you can get your loved one to a place like Medical City immediately.
Quickly treating stroke patients leads to a much greater chance of complete recovery. Think F.A.S.T. if you see any of these stroke signs in a loved one and dial 911:
• FACE – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
• ARMS – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward?
• SPEECH – Ask the person to repeat a sentence. Are the words slurred? Is the person confused?
• TIME – It’s time to call 911 if the person suddenly shows any signs of these symptoms, especially if they are accompanied by loss of vision, loss of balance, dizziness or headache.
Medical City has successfully implemented a Code Stroke Protocol to ensure the rapid evaluation and treatment of patients. This leads to a greater chance of complete recovery.
Your children can learn about stroke symptoms, in a fun and non-scary way. Medical City has a “stroke puppet team,” which can come to elementary schools, churches & temples or Scout meetings to teach FAST. I encourage you to watch a puppet show with your children. We have one posted on Medical City’s YouTube page here. If you’d like to book the stroke puppet team, email [email protected].
Every 40 seconds, somebody has a stroke. It’s important to be prepared – know the symptoms, and know where to bring your loved one. I can’t change what happened to my Grandma Dorothy. But I know she would be proud of me, helping to make sure other people’s loved ones have happier endings, with many holidays ahead of them to celebrate.
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Stacy Covitz is a Kansas City girl who has called Dallas home for the past three years. She worked as a news producer for nearly 15 years before transitioning to healthcare in 2012. She is currently the Marketing Program Manager at Medical City. She and her Shih Tzu, Maddie, cheer for the Kansas City Royals and Mizzou Tigers from their Uptown home.
Disclosure: Dallas Moms Blog has partnered with Medical City Dallas to bring you this information. All opinions belong to Medical City, but we support and endorse this local hospital.