Recognizing the Symptoms of A Stroke Can Save Your Life

January 18, 2017
Stroke Survivor — Jimmy Herrin

Katherine Herrin and her husband, Jimmy, were in their kitchen on the evening of June 14, 2016, when he began to slur his speech and slumped over. She immediately recognized he was having a stroke.

Stroke Program Manager Jenny Reeves, RN, SCRN, PCCN, says Jimmy came to the right place. “TMC is a Primary (Level II) Stroke Facility designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services, and received Advanced Certification as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission,” she says. “Our 24-hour stroke team is always ready.”

Time Is of the Essence

Jimmy was evaluated and found to be a candidate for tPA, a clot-dissolving drug. “The main goal in treating stroke is to quickly restore blood flow back to the brain,” says Jenny.

To be most effective, IV tPA must be given within the first hour of stroke symptom onset. Jimmy received his treatment in less than an hour from the time his symptoms began, and within two hours of treatment, was back to normal with no evidence of brain damage. “I am so glad Texoma Medical Center is close to my home and they have the technology to treat strokes like my husband’s,” says Katherine. “We could not have asked for a better facility and team of doctors and nurses. We are grateful for all they have done!”

Jenny says Jimmy experienced the whole cycle of stroke care at TMC, from the Emergency Room, to the Intensive Care Unit, to the Telemetry Stroke Unit. “Jimmy received his tPA treatment within 30 minutes after arriving at the ER. He was monitored in the ICU for 24 hours, then moved to the Telemetry Stroke Unit before being discharged,” she says. “We have different units that provide various levels of care based on the patient’s needs.”

Knowing the Signs of Stroke

As the Stroke Program Manager, Jenny educates the community about the warning signs of stroke, acting FAST and calling 9-1-1. She also surveys all stroke patients after they leave the hospital.

“This information helps me tailor our stroke education. It is vital that people call 9-1-1 at the first signs of a stroke. The medics on the ambulance are trained to provide care for all emergencies, including stroke,” says Jenny. “They start working on the patient right away and call ahead, which activates our Code Stroke alert. This alerts the stroke team to be prepared for the patient's arrival. The quicker we diagnose and treat the patient, the better their outcome,” says Jenny.

Today, Katherine and Jimmy Herrin help promote stroke awareness by sharing information and telling everyone to call 9-1-1 if they think they might be having a stroke. “My husband is a lucky man, and we tell everyone we know what signs to look for. We also share how wonderful Texoma Medical Center is and how they saved my husband’s life!” 

Recognize the Symptoms of Possible Stroke, and Think FAST:

  • Face – Smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms – Raise both arms. Does one arm drop lower?
  • Speech – Recite a simple phrase. Is speech slurred?
  • Time – If you notice any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.