Loree Evans suffered a severe stroke and received rapid treatment in a race against time.

News, Your Health | 4 years ago

Rapid, Coordinated Care Saves Grandmother's Life During Stroke

Almost 2 million brain cells die each minute a stroke goes untreated. When Loree suffered a severe stroke, she received rapid treatment in a race against time.

Helen “Loree” Evans, 78, went from cooking breakfast for her three grandchildren to waking up in the ICU later that afternoon surrounded by the loving, and anxious, faces of her family.

She eventually learned that she had suffered a stroke – which sparked a rapid chain of events – beginning with Loree collapsing on the bathroom floor and ending with a helicopter ride and an emergency surgery.

She would also learn that her stroke was quite severe and that if she hadn’t received the timely, advanced treatment she had, a very different outcome could have resulted.

Speedy stroke treatment

After Loree’s husband and grandchildren discovered her passed out on the bathroom floor, they immediately called 911, and she was quickly transported by ambulance to the closest ER – Carolinas HealthCare System Union.

By the time she arrived, Loree’s respirations were very shallow and she was unresponsive. In short order, she was intubated, sent to a get a CT scan, and Loree’s medical team activated telestroke, an emergency stroke protocol that sends a page out to offsite neurologists for virtual care. Atrium Health’s telestroke program ensures that every stroke patient, regardless of where they’re treated, receives the specialized, advanced stroke care they need in real time.

A neurologist at Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast responded to the telestroke page, interacting and consulting virtually with Loree’s medical team to determine her treatment plan. After reviewing Loree’s CT scan, the neurologist concluded that she was suffering from basilar artery occlusion.

“A basilar artery occlusion is the most severe and disabling stroke syndrome and if left untreated often ends in death or severe disability,” says Jeffrey Bodle, MD, a neurologist and stroke medical director at Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast.

With this diagnosis in hand, the on-call neurologist, via two-way videoconferencing, determined that Loree needed to receive tPA (a clot-busting medication administered through an IV) and that she needed to be medically transported by helicopter to Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast for emergency surgery to remove the clot in her brain.

Outlook looks bright

Thanks to her family’s quick response and the timely, coordinated, high-quality medical care she received, Loree’s surgery was a complete success and she has since made a nearly full recovery, expect for occasional bouts of double vision caused by slight nerve damage in her left eye. But, Loree says that has gotten much better over time.

“This story is a great example of the stroke system of care working well – starting with good recognition and then diagnosis by the ER team and neurologists to the rapid teamwork and communication to get Loree airlifted for surgery,” Dr. Bodle says. “It’s one of those cases that highlights why time is so precious, and she’s here now because of speedy, excellent clinical care.”

Loree wholeheartedly agrees: “The care I received was amazing because of how well I’m doing now. I’m thankful for every bit of it, every day.”

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