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Stroke Ready

Every year more than 795,000 people in the US have a stroke. (CDC)  American Stroke related deaths per year tally 130,000.  On average, one American dies every four minutes from a Stroke.

These are frightening statistics. Most US citizens know family members, friends or community members whom have been affected by a Stroke.  The major risk factors are life style choices, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, smoking and inactivity. 

Groups such as the American Heart/ Stroke Association and the Brain Attack Collation have developed emergent life saving protocols that decrease the potential for permanent loss of life or ability from a Stroke.  These evidence based treatment protocols have been implemented into most large hospitals across the country.  These protocols provide a Stroke patient with “clot busting” medications, in a timely manner, with the hope to reduce the significant residual affects. 

Illinois developed and passed legislation, in 2009, that allowed large hospitals to demonstrate their ability to provide these evidence based practices and protocols that earned them the distinction of being a Primary Stoke Center.  In 2014, Illinois recognized that there was an opportunity for rural or critical access hospitals to work in conjunction with the Primary Stroke Centers to provide evidence based protocols for Stroke patients, including administering “clot busting” medications and transport to a Primary Stroke Center. 

Memorial Hospital is proud to be able to provide this lifesaving opportunity to the community.  As HealthCare Providers, Physicians and staff at the hospital understand that opportunity for the best outcome requires education on Stroke symptoms and reaction, to our Community that we serve. 

Symptoms of a Stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg

  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

The American Stroke Association provides the simple pneumonic – FAST - in an effort to remind the general public of the signs/symptoms of a Stroke:

  • F- FACE: Ask the person to smile, Does one side droop?

  • A- ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

  • S- SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

  • T- TIME - If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY.  


The “clot busters” the Hospital gives for a Stroke must be started within 3 hours of the “LAST KNOWN WELL.”  By activating EMS or calling 9-1-1, patients and their families are starting a chain reaction.  Using an ambulance allows for the hospital staff to alert the Stroke Team and prepare for the patient’s treatment.  The goal for treatment is to start the “clot busting” medication in the first 60 minutes of arrival. 

Remember that TIME = BRAIN

This is a race for your life and the highly skilled and trained staff at Memorial Hospital Chester is here to help you win.

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