Athens stroke victim receives fast treatment

Jane Bennett

A routine, early morning cycling class turned out to be anything but routine for Jane Bennett.

 

The local business owner experienced a stroke that could have left her paralyzed, but she recovered after treatment at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.

“I leaned over the front of my bike, and then I couldn’t push myself back up,” Bennett said. “I sat there not able to speak or move, hoping someone would look over and notice I couldn’t get up.”

Bennett’s cycling instructor saw her in distress, ran over to assist as fast as she could and called 911 so that Bennett could get the life-saving care she needed at Piedmont Athens Regional, where neurologists evaluate patients in-person 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

Upon arrival, Eric Sewell, an emergency medicine specialist, and the emergency room team brought in a hospital neurologist for assistance.

“Initially, she was completely paralyzed on the left side of her body,” said Jon Poling, a neurologist at Piedmont Athens Regional. “This damage could have been permanent had we not been quick about administering treatment. The only approved treatment for an ischemic stroke is tPA, which is what we gave Ms. Bennett. When this is administered promptly, it can save lives and reduce long-term effects of stroke.”

Doctors at Piedmont Athens Regional determined that Bennett’s stroke was most likely caused by atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow, which caused a clot in her brain.

Nearly one in six strokes is caused by atrial fibrillation, according to the National Blood Clot Alliance.

Once they identified where the clot was located in her brain, Bennett was quickly transferred to an advanced comprehensive stroke center in Atlanta to have the clot removed.

“I was very thankful for the hospital and the emergency room staff for knowing exactly what to do and doing it fast,” Bennett said. She has since gotten back to her regular exercise routine, while closely monitoring her heart.

Stroke, also referred to as a “brain attack,” occurs when a blood vessel breaks or a blood clot blocks an artery, interrupting blood supply to the brain.

Strokes can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race or gender. The most common signs include sudden difficulty seeing, walking or talking; weakness on one side of the body; and a sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

The key to optimal recovery of a stroke is to act FAST:

Face – look for an uneven smile.

Arm – check if one arm is weak.

Speech – listen for slurred speech.

Time – call 911 right away.

 

More