Acting Fast is the Key to Treating Stroke
Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults. The good
news is, the faster you seek medical treatment, the better your chance
of a full recovery. This was the case for Fountain Valley resident Susie Chew.
Susie, a 62-year-old computer programmer, returned to work on Monday morning
after a weeklong vacation. Getting back into her morning routine, she
decided to walk downstairs to the company cafeteria to get a cup of coffee.
As Susie headed down the hall, she suddenly stumbled and fell, but luckily
braced herself against the wall with an elbow. She dropped her empty coffee
cup and although she made several attempts to pick it up, she was unable
to firmly grasp the handle and the cup continued to fall to the ground.
“At first, I thought I was just being clumsy and maybe a little tired
since it was my first day back at work after vacation,” recalls
Susie. “My two friends and coworkers, Stephen and Sylvia, were walking
down the hall behind me and saw all of this happen.”
Fortunately for Susie, her coworkers were nearby and ran to her aid. They
helped her into a chair and offered her a cup of water, but as she took
the first sip, water began to spill out from the left side of Susie’s
mouth. She also began slurring her words saying, “I’m ok,”
but her coworkers knew something was wrong and immediately called 9-1-1.
As the ambulance transported Susie to Hoag, she could hear the paramedics
communicating with the hospital staff via their radio. “They were
already telling Hoag that I was coming,” says Susie. “The
nurses and doctors were waiting for me when I arrived.”
One of those people waiting for Susie was Andrew Ly, M.D., neurohospitalist
and Hoag Stroke Program team member. Dr. Ly immediately assessed Susie
and inquired about her symptoms. “I was tired, a little dizzy and
I had a mild headache,” continues Susie. “But I didn’t
know I was having a stroke.”
Dr. Ly ordered CT scans to evaluate Susie’s brain and blood vessels,
which revealed she had a large clot in one of her main arteries and was
indeed having a stroke. She then received the clot-dissolving medication
tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) intravenously. Susie responded extremely
well to the treatment and was discharged home just three days after arriving
in the emergency room.
If Susie had not received immediate treatment, her outcome could have resulted
in severe disability, or worse. The fact that Susie arrived at Hoag immediately
after the onset of her symptoms made her an ideal candidate to receive
the most effective stroke management. She is now back at home with her
family and expected to make a full recovery.
Susie and her husband, Alan, have three children and two grandchildren,
ages two and three. The entire Chew family, especially Susie, remains
grateful to Hoag and the stroke team. “I’m very thankful for
the wonderful staff and physicians at Hoag. I was treated extremely well
and everyone seemed genuinely concerned about my well being.”