Northside Hospital - Think stroke? Think FAST!

Think stroke? Think FAST!

Posted on: September 28, 2015


Friday, March 27th started out as a normal workday for longtime Atlanta native, Shirly Hillin. She was driving along her regular morning commute when she started to feel strange. As she reached to signal a turn, her hand ‘went limp’. Then, when she arrived at work, she found that her legs ‘didn’t work’ either and she was unable to get out of her car. Scared and confused, Hillin called a coworker for help, and that’s when they called 911.

Paramedics and colleagues suspected that Hillin had had a stroke.

She was immediately taken to Northside Hospital where Dr. Joe Bateman confirmed their suspicion. Fortunately for Hillin, Dr. Bateman determined that she was eligible for tPA, tissue plasminogen activator,an injectable blood thinner that has been hailed as a miracle drug for stroke victims. If administered within four hours of stroke symptom onset, the drug works to dissolve blood clots and could resolve any lingering symptoms. Chances of seeing improvement are tied directly to how quickly it’s given.  Fortunately for Hillin, she was administered tPA within about an hour of symptom onset. She left the hospital two days later having suffered no lasting repercussions from the stroke.

At 76 and completely recovered from her recent stroke scare, Hillin still works full-time five days a week. Today, she’s more aware of the signs that may indicate trouble and cautions anyone with a question about her experience.

In medicine, when it comes to stroke, “Time is brain.” As Hillin says, “Timing is everything when it comes to a stroke. You have got to act fast. If you feel like something isn’t right, then get to the hospital as quick as you can.”

Symptoms of a stroke can be recognized and easily remembered with the “FAST” acronym below.

Face drooping

Arm weakness

Speech difficulty

Time to call 9-1-1

Filed under: Patient Stories,


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