Fast Action Makes a Difference for Stroke Patient
Since recovering from a stroke, Paul DeWitt appreciates simple pleasures that are easily taken for granted. He grasps a cup of coffee. He smiles and laughs. He even appreciates the ability to whistle.
DeWitt was rushed to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center on Jan. 18, 2018. It started out as a very ordinary day.
He had settled in to work on his laptop after a morning meeting. As a software security researcher, DeWitt does so much typing it’s practically second nature.
But on this particular day his fingers wouldn’t move across the keyboard. He felt strange, and he had to stare at his hands and intentionally think about typing the letters to make the words come.
DeWitt thought he might feel better if he got up and took a break, but instead he felt worse. He could sense that his left side was getting weaker. He went to his manager’s office and told her he thought it might be a stroke.
“It was terrifying. I was almost completely paralyzed on my left side,” DeWitt says. “I was trying to text my wife with just my right hand to let her know what was going on, but as it got worse I couldn’t even do that anymore.”
DeWitt was taken by ambulance to Fort Sanders Regional, a hospital certified and accredited for excellence in stroke treatment and rehabilitation. Help was already waiting when he arrived.
Because DeWitt got to the hospital so quickly, he was able to be treated with clot-busting tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes. Three days later he was home doing prescribed therapy exercises and on the road to recovery.
Reflecting on the whirlwind of his health scare, DeWitt says he’s glad he made the choice to go to Fort Sanders Regional when he did. Arthur Moore, MD, director of the hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, says prompt treatment is critical.
“As soon as you have the suspicion that you’re having a stroke, you need to get to the hospital.” Dr. Moore says. “Most of our treatments are time dependent, and if we can treat patients within an hour of symptom onset, the chances of them walking out of the hospital increase dramatically.”
For information about the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, visit www.fsregional.com/stroke.