“The Stroke Care Now Network was the key to my recovery.”
Vicki Groves never slows down. For years, she's been taking care of other — raising a family, nursing thousands of patients back to health, even watching her own children explore the joys of parenthood. So the day she felt overwhelmed and knocked out by headaches and nausea, she knew something was really wrong.
Not long after heading to her bedroom to take a shower and lay down, Vicki’s husband said he heard her call for him. By the time he found her in the bathroom, she was unresponsive. As she slowly regained consciousness, Vicki told her husband she hardly had the strength to lift her left arm and leg. Having suffered a stroke himself, he knew just what to do.
“He called 9-1-1 immediately!” Vicki explains. The ambulance arrived four minutes later and took Vicki to St. Joseph Hospital, centrally located in downtown Fort Wayne. When she arrived, the attending physicians immediately recognized Vicki’s symptoms as those of a potential stroke and activated the Stroke Care Now Network. Six and a half miles away at Lutheran Hospital, Dr. James Stevens was able to perform a telemedicine exam on Vicki using a robotic camera, and based on that consult, authorized the use of the clot-busting drug tPA, before having her transferred to Lutheran for more diagnostic testing and treatment. “That was the key to my recovery — fast-acting physicians.”
Before Vicki’s stroke, neither she nor her husband had heard of the Stroke Care Now Network or the new clot-busting drug used with her treatment. “The ambulance driver explained that they were taking me to the closest hospital, St. Joe,” Vicki remembers. “He told us they’d be able to work directly with my doctors at Lutheran, coordinating my care. It was very reassuring to know that I was receiving the best care so close to home.”
As part of the Stroke Care Now Network, Lutheran’s Stroke Center is able to extend its care to emergency departments throughout the region. Through telemedicine, physicians are able to provide remote neurological consults and assess the level of impairment a patient is experiencing, reducing the time from stroke to treatment and maximizing the chance for a full recovery.