McCracken County resident Danny Farmer knows about being at the right place at the right time.
After all, if you’re having a serious medical emergency, there’s no better place to be than the hospital.
Farmer, who lives in Fremont, visited Baptist Health Paducah in January to get an MRI scan for his back. He had a morning appointment. Instead, the 68-year-old received potentially life-saving stroke treatment after a Baptist Health employee recognized the emergency during registration.
“I don’t have much family anymore and live by myself,” he told The Sun. “If it’d happen during the night time or something like that … I wouldn’t have known it until I woke up or something.”
Farmer remembers having a quick series of unusual symptoms that day at the hospital.
He had a strange — but fleeting — feeling of “electricity” over his whole body, while in the parking lot area. He felt a short spell of dizziness near the hospital entrance and struggled with slurred speech when talking to patient access coordinator Tanner Dublin. He later lost sensation in his left arm and leg.
“I don’t get dizzy either,” he said. “I mean, never have in my life, and I said, ‘You know, that’s unusual.’ I mean, I don’t know what’s going on. I walked on in and signed my name and went down to booth three.”
Farmer recalls talking to Dublin, trying to talk about his symptoms.
Meanwhile, Dublin said he noticed Farmer’s face starting to draw, or droop, by the time he got Farmer pulled up in the hospital’s registration system and realized what he was there for. Dublin had learned about the signs of stroke during orientation and in hospital refreshers.
“To not cause him any alarm, I told my team lead to call the ER, to let them know what was going on,” Dublin said. “I told my supervisor, who just happened to be standing there at the same time, to call the ‘code stroke’ because we’ve got different processes we have to do.”
Dublin said he’d called the emergency room himself, informing the director about the patient who was experiencing a stroke. Farmer remembers seeing a wheelchair beside him, while his left arm and leg were just “gone.”
A short time later, Farmer was in the emergency room. He was later administered Tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, an FDA-approved treatment for ischemic or thrombotic stroke.
He’s now “pretty well” back to normal and “thrilled to death” about how it worked out. But just hours earlier that day, he didn’t know anything was wrong with him. There weren’t any signs.
Chapman Offutt, registered nurse and neuroscience coordinator at Baptist Health Paducah, said Farmer’s story shows the importance of early treatment, explaining that tPA is a clot-busting medication given to eligible patients during the first 4 1/2 hours of ischemic stroke.
“Our goal at the hospital currently is 45 minutes,” he said. “The national goal is 60 minutes, but it needs to be administered within 4 and 1/2 hours of the patient last being normal. That’s the time that we last know the patient did not have any symptoms.”
Offutt urges everyone to get to Baptist Health Paducah for stroke treatment, as soon as anyone recognizes symptoms of stroke, so it can help minimize the effects. The hospital’s program celebrates 10 years as a leader in stroke care this year. It offers 24/7 neurohospitalist and neurosurgery coverage.
“As soon as anybody recognizes stroke symptoms, they need to immediately get to us at Baptist Health Paducah for stroke treatment, just to try to minimize the effects and the side effects from that stroke,” he said.
Offutt also shared a mnemonic device when it comes to strokes: BE FAST. It stands for balance, eyes, face, arm, speech and time.
“The biggest thing is just time,” Offutt said. “Don’t wait to get treatment for stroke. As soon as you recognize those symptoms, come see us at Baptist and let us get you treated and let us help you get back to the road of recovery and minimize your symptoms of a stroke.”