What to do when you are having a stroke.


“The most important thing, when someone thinks they are having a stroke, is they need to call 911.” Rebecca Cowie is the Assistant Chief Nursing Officer for Washington Regional Medical Center. She says that calling 911 is the first thing anyone should do if they suspect they or someone they are with is having a stroke “because we have EMS providers who are highly trained to recognize a stroke, and they actually alert us on the way in so that we’re ready and prepared for that patient when they arrive.”

“We do a CT Scan, we do a CTA and we also look at CT Profusion. They look at those images. They do a clinical assessment. And then based on putting those two things together they determine whether or not they believe the patient’s having a stroke.”

Washington Regional Medical Center is prepared for both types of stroke. In the case of a bleeding Hemorrhagic Stroke, a neurosurgeon will be called in to consult and help prepare a plan of action.

In the case of a clot-based Ischemic stroke, a determination is made to see if the patient is a candidate for the clot-buster tPA shot, or if they need a Thrombectomy in the Neurointerventional Suite to have the clot removed via a catheter by a highly trained physician. 

“So patients are a candidate for the clot-busting medication. Some patients are a candidate for the removal of the clot. And some patients actually are a candidate for both therapies.  So they make that determination and then everything moves very quickly from there so we can get the patient the right type of treatment.”

Cowie says that stroke recovery looks different than what most people think it looks like. ” The fact is if you recognize signs and symptoms of a stroke and you get treatment in a timely manner then we actually have really good success with treatment and with rehab.”

“Call 911. Get to the hospital. Get treatment. But once you’re here we really look at how can we maximize the treatment we are giving you and how can we send you home on the appropriate medicins so that we prevent you having a second stroke.” 

For more information on the signs of stoke click here.

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