Award shines light on hospital’s stroke team

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COLUMBUS, Ga.For Fran Pharis, February 5, 2015 was like any other day, until she decided to go outside to pick up her newspaper.

“And I realized I was falling and I thought what in the world is wrong with me? And I couldn’t stop it. Usually you can catch your balance, but I couldn’t, and I went down right on concrete,” said Fran Pharis.

A neighbor saw her, and called 911. She had to get to the hospital quickly. She was having a stroke. Neurologist Nojan Valadi says Fran’s stroke was ischemic in nature.

“The patient has a large blood vessel or even a small blood vessel blocked in the brain where there’s no blood flow to a part of the brain or even a very large part of the brain. Getting that blood vessel open again is of utmost importance,” said Dr. Nojan Valadi.

In Fran’s case, labs were drawn, a CT scan completed and TPA, a clot-busting drug administered in about twenty minutes. Every second counts when treating a stroke because the longer the brain tissue goes without blood flow and oxygen, the more damage is done. Dr. Valadi says the more damage, the more disability. Care such as this helped St. Francis Hospital to secure the 2016 “Get With the Guidelines” Gold Plus Stroke Award.

Fran was also taken to Midtown Medical for a procedure known as Endovascular therapy because her blood vessel was so large.

Stroke symptoms include:

Sudden numbness, tingling or loss of movement in your face, arm or leg

Sudden vision changes

Sudden trouble speaking

Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements

Sudden problems with walking or balance

A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches

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