Source: The News-Enterprise

Roughly 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the United States, according to the Stroke Awareness Foundation.

Among those already this year to suffer a stroke is Hardin County resident Mitch Hill.

On Jan. 14, Hill was at Hardin Memorial Health Vascular Surgery, located behind Hardin Memorial Hospital, to get an ultrasound of his carotid arteries. While there, the staff noticed Hill was exhibiting left side facial drooping. He was asked to speak and realized his left side was paralyzed.

Hill’s doctor had him go straight to the HMH emergency department. Once he arrived he said the stroke team did their thing.

“They took excellent care of me,” he said. “Everything was super fast. I got the clot buster drug at 31 minutes.”

Stroke Program Coordin­ator Rosa Vittitoe, MSN, SCRN, said the goal is to get that drug administered as quickly as possible. The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recommend to have it administered within 60 minutes.

“You lose 1.9 million neurons every minute that drug is delayed,” she said, noting the quicker it is administered, the lower risk for disability as well.

Other than some weakness and a little bit of short-term memory loss, Hill said he is doing excellent.

“I have very high praise for the stroke team. They did an excellent job,” he said.

HMH received the Stroke Elite Honor Roll award for quality measures met in 2019, and is on target to maintain the award for measures being met in 2020, despite COVID-19.

“We have such a commitment from our stroke team care at Hardin Memorial and our partnerships with EMS that we are able to achieve some high quality measures that we are very proud of,” Vittitoe said.

“Everybody has a designated role. To hear these kinds of stories, it’s so promising to our community.”

When Hill arrived at the hospital in January, another stroke patient already was at the designated CT Scan. Instead of waiting, he said Dr. Scott Dishaw grabbed a wheelchair and quickly escorted him to another.

“It was super fast, excellent care, everybody knew what they were doing,” Hill said.

In addition to care, Vitti­toe said stroke patients and their families are provided a stroke education, informed of stroke symptoms, risk factors, recovery and more.

“A stroke not only affects the patient it impacts the entire family,” she said.

The acronym to identify a stroke is Be Fast: balance, eyes, face, arm, speech and time.

According to the Stroke Awareness Foundation, signs of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination; and sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Hill said people need to be aware of stroke symptoms.

“In my case, I wasn’t even aware I was having it,” he said.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month.