Stephanie Flynn is a Buckeye resident who experienced a stroke at age 34. Her story emphasizes the importance of knowing the signs of stroke and seeking immediate emergency care as May is recognized as national Stroke Awareness Month.
Ms. Flynn’s life changed Jan. 8, 2020. Now a little over a year later after emergency treatment at Abrazo West Campus in Goodyear and follow-up rehabilitation for her recovery, she is thankful for the hospital’s quick-thinking caregivers and advanced stroke care capabilities.
“The morning started off like any other day. Little did I know it would end up being the most dramatic day in my life,” Ms. Flynn recalled. “Thankfully, due to the quick actions of the Abrazo West Campus stroke team, I’m able to recount this story so others may see into the world of stroke and have confidence in the medical professionals who are standing by ready to help.”
While her husband, Shannon, an F-35 pilot at Luke Air Force Base, took their oldest daughter to school, Ms. Flynn, at home with their 10-month-old, noticed a sudden numbness in her right side and tingling in her face.
Upon returning home, Shannon Flynn found her on the living room floor.
Within minutes of arriving at Abrazo West Campus, a CT scan confirmed Ms. Flynn was having a stroke.
She received tPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within an hour of her first stroke symptoms. Interventional Neurologist Dr. Sushant Kale and his team began preparing for a thrombectomy to clear the clot in Ms. Flynn’s brain.
In the hospital’s Interventional Radiology Suite, Dr. Kale saw the clot responding to the tPA.
Because Abrazo West Campus is a Primary Plus Stroke Center, it has the capacity to perform thrombectomies if needed for complex ischemic strokes.
More than 87 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes caused by a clot that cuts off blood flow to a part of the brain.
They are largely treatable if a patient gets to a hospital that can provide the right treatment in time.
Studies have shown the value of mechanical thrombectomy for large vessel occlusive ischemic strokes, according to Dr. Kale.
Quickly and effectively treating stroke helps preserve brain function and a better quality of life for patients after a stroke, he said.
Abrazo West, 13677 W. McDowell Road, offers stroke trained Emergency Department staff, advanced neuro imaging facilities, a neurointerventional biplane suite, neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, neuro interventional and intensive care physicians and rehabilitation services, Dr. Kale said.
Within two hours of first arriving at the hospital, Ms. Flynn was recovering in the ICU, and was discharged three days later.
“The stroke team at Abrazo West did a tremendous job at keeping me informed on my progress and what to expect going forward,” Ms. Flynn said. “I was able to regain my full physical strength within six months and close to full mental stamina within a year of the stroke. I consider myself very lucky in that my outcome is now almost back to normal physically and mentally.
“My husband and I have discussed multiple times how lucky we were to go to Abrazo West Campus and that Dr. Kale was on call that day,” she said. “We owe a tremendous debt to them as they were able to show such professionalism and care when I needed it most.”
Abrazo West is a Primary Plus Stroke Center. The certification by DNV Healthcare recognizes the hospital’s capacity to treat acute complex ischemic strokes as well as post-treatment care for stroke patients.
For more information, visit Abrazo Health.com. If you or a loved one are showing signs of stroke, call 911 immediately.