Think F.A.S.T During National Stroke Awareness Month


Time is of the essence when dealing with everyday emergencies such as strokes, heart attacks, traumas and car crashes. COVID-19 should not discourage a patient in need. At Piedmont Columbus Regional, case numbers were normal in March, but dropped a little in April.

“At the beginning we did see a drop in the patients coming in for strokes,” said Neuroscience Service Line Director Kelli Brennan. “However, we have seen that number kind of come back to normal as what we’re used to.”

Hospitals like Piedmont Columbus Regional have taken the proper precautions to protect patients and be prepared, especially for those experiencing stroke symptoms. Each year, strokes kill more than 150,000 people in the United States. When strokes don’t kill, they injure. Nationwide, strokes are the leading cause of adult disability and impact more than 6 million adults.

“There is a delicate balance between being fast and being accurate when it comes to stroke because time is brain, so you want to move as fast as possible but you want to make the right decisions to try to save that brain.”

When looking for stroke symptoms, the key word is F.A.S.T. First, check to see if their face is drooping. Second, examine if their is any arm weakness, and third, are they having speech difficulty. If so, it’s time to call 9-1-1.

“The timing is so important because we can do intervention and provide treatment if patients come in right away, but if they make the decision to sleep on it or take a nap the damage might already be done and in many cases it’s not reversible at that point.”

Timing is critical, and EMS can make the difference for hospitals and patients.

“They have a huge impact in these stroke patients lives. They work very hard to stay up-to-date on all of the information they need to do to get the patient here as fast as possible.”

First responders deserve a special thank you, and this year they are honored during the 46th annual National EMS Appreciation Week, May 17-23, 2020.

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