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Here’s a graphic from The American Recall Center. Along with raising awareness on how to respond to a stroke, they are spreading the word about the dangers of a medication used to prevent stroke and blood clots. The commonly used drug, Xarelto, has shown to have negative side effects of internal bleeding in some patients. You can learn more from their Xarelto page.

A story from one of my days…

This time, I’m going to make a difference. Everything is working, the family called 911 five minutes after the symptoms began, Engine Company 11 arrived three minutes after that, oxygen was administered immediately, vital signs and neurological function assessed and a report transmitted to me.

This time, everything is going my way, the family has her medications ready, the stair chair is assembled, the patient lies in bed, unable to speak, eyes fixed to the right, facial droop, nothing on the left side. I’m not waiting, I don’t care about my back. I’m closest, I reach into her bed and pick her up and place her in the chair.

She’s fifty-five. A year younger than my mother was on her last day as a functioning person.

This time, this patient will get to the hospital quickly, and this time the medications that will restore her functions will be effective, and she will regain her mobility, and her ability to communicate, and this time she won’t spend the last nine years of her life in a nursing home, half alive, mind sharp but body unable, days and years of steady decline as the family watches her waste away until eventually the feeding tube goes in, and the light in her eyes goes out, and she dies slowly, a week before Christmas.

Not this time.

This time we are in the trauma room, half an hour passed since the onset of symptoms, and of all the doctors who could have been working, this time it’s the one I like more than all of the others, and she just happens to speak fluent Russian, the same language as the lady having the massive stroke. The doctor is able to communicate with the patient, and calm her a little, and figure out what is going wrong. She calls her mother from her cell phone, and finds the Russian word for “Stroke.” A mother daughter connection in the trauma room. This time everything is going to work out well.

This time I sit and watch, a front row spectator as the fifty five year old lady gets a second chance. She’s a candidate for TPA, which I have seen work miracles.

This time I don’t forget about the patient nearly as soon as the triage nurse signs my report. This time, every time I return to the ER with a different patient I check on her, and watch, and talk with the family, and offer encouragement.

Three times everything was going as well as could be expected, her vital signs were stable, the medications doing their job.


Treatment of Ischemic Stroke

The treatment of ischemic stroke aims to dissolve, remove, or shatter a blood clot that is preventing blood from reaching an area of the brain. The most common treatments forischemic stroke are the following:

Intravenous TPA
This is the first line of treatment against ischemic stroke. Tissue plasminogen activator or TPA is injected into the bloodstream through an intravenous line. TPA travels in the blood until it reaches the clot that is causing the stroke. Once there it begins to break up the clot until blood can flow past it toward the affected areas.

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