A stroke is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate treatment, and seconds count when a stroke is suspected.
On the morning of September 11, when Manheim resident, Bill Zimmerman, woke from sleep, he immediately realized something was not right. His vision and speech seemed different to him and he was unable to walk without stumbling. When his wife called 911, the Zimmerman’s had no idea just how serious his situation was. But when our EMS crew arrived, Paramedic Brad Anderson immediately recognized that his patient was potentially suffering from symptoms of a CVA, or stroke. Anderson knew the best chance for survival depended on getting Zimmerman to a stroke center as quickly as possible. Upon arrival at the hospital, physicians confirmed that Zimmerman was, indeed, suffering from a stroke and began immediate measures to reverse the damage.
When it comes to a stroke, seconds count. Patients should not ignore vague symptoms such as facial numbness, balance issues, vision or speech problems or confusion. These symptoms are often downplayed and patients don’t seek the immediate care they need, resulting in irreversible damage. Doctors can treat and reverse the symptoms of a stroke if the patient is seen early enough. That window of time is as little as 3 hours! If care is not started within that time, the patient may not survive the stroke or they may suffer irreversible deficit.
Just 3 weeks after his stroke, Mr. Zimmerman is back at home with no obvious signs of deficit. Today, he walks without the aid of a cane or other assistant device, and his vision and speech have returned to normal. Other than some balance issues, Mr. Zimmerman continues to enjoy an active lifestyle.
One of the things he wanted to do, upon being discharged from the hospital, was to thank the EMS crew. “I couldn’t remember his face or what he looked like, but I wanted to thank him” Zimmerman said, referring to Paramedic Anderson. Zimmerman stopped by the Manheim Community Farm Show this week to visit with the Paramedic he credits with saving his life. During their visit, Zimmerman explained that three different doctors told him that he is alive today because of the immediate response by NWEMS to get him to a hospital.
For more information on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke, visit: www.cdc.gov/stroke