Laurie's Story

Advanced Protocols at UH Parma Medical Center Prevent Lasting Effects for Stroke Patient

Laurie Duncan was relishing the relaxation of a community chicken barbeque on a crisp autumn day when the dizzying symptoms of a stroke hit. Suddenly lightheaded and weak on her left side, other diners recognized her stumble as a stroke in progress. An Independence squad arrived in minutes and made no hesitation in determining the best local hospital to treat the 75-year-old Hinckley resident: “You’re going to Parma,” paramedics told her.

The ambulance whisked Duncan off to University Hospitals Parma Medical Center, part of University Hospitals Neurological Institute and ranked among the best neurology/neurosurgery programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. John Andrefsky, MD, Medical Director of Neurology, was waiting on that Sunday afternoon to administer the drug that halted the stroke and reversed its effects. He spared Laurie lingering effects from the brain attack and a trip to another tertiary care center.

“It was like a miracle,” said Laurie, who spent just a few days at UH Parma Medical Center and was discharged in time to attend another Kiwanis event with her husband later that week. Soon, the Hinckley resident and horse enthusiast was riding high again.

Public outreach and community education earned UH Parma Medical Center a Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Dr. Andrefsky met with EMS on all three shifts in nine communities surrounding the hospital to inform them of UH Parma Medical Center’s enhanced stroke protocols. Patients in the southwest suburbs now have local access to nationally renowned stroke specialists, with the backing of Northeast Ohio’s first Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center at University Hospitals.

“This is a real plus for our patients, and a tangible benefit of their community hospital becoming part of UH,” says Dr. Andrefsky.

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