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Memorial Health System Stroke Experts Urge Fast Action to Respond to Stroke Symptoms


Every three minutes and 33 seconds, someone in the United States dies of a stroke.

That’s why when someone is experiencing a stroke, rapid treatment is essential to prevent loss of brain function, according to officials with the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Memorial Medical Center.

If you or someone you love is experiencing the symptoms of stroke, call 911 immediately. An easy way to spot a stroke is to remember the acronym, BE FAST:

  • B: Balance – Check for sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • E: Eyes – A person having a stroke may have sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
  • F: Face – Check for facial weakness. An uneven smile or weakness on one side of the face could mean trouble.
  • A: Arm – Check for weakness in the arms or an inability to raise both arms evenly.
  • S: Speech – Check for impaired, slurred speech or difficulty repeating simple phrases.
  • T: Time – If you think someone might be having a stroke, call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to drive to the hospital.

When 68-year-old Patrick Doyle experienced a stroke, collapsing in his garage at his Petersburg home, it was due to the insistence of a neighbor and his life companion that Doyle received care from Memorial Medical Center’s Comprehensive Stroke Center team.

One of the most important lessons Doyle learned in his experience with stroke was “time is brain” – the longer a person delays going to a hospital when experiencing stroke-like symptoms, the more at risk the brain is for lasting damage.

More ways to spot a stroke:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

For Doyle, the journey back to his life pre-stroke has not been easy; after reviewing scans taken the day he was brought to the hospital, Doyle’s care team determined he had suffered a hemorrhagic “bleeding” stroke, which is a bleeding aneurysm.

Doyle underwent surgery almost immediately and spent more than two weeks recovering in the neurology intensive care unit at Memorial Medical Center. His recovery process included cognitive therapy and rehabilitation.

Doyle considers himself a stroke success story. He is able to mow his lawn, lift weights at his gym, play golf, grill hamburgers and do laundry – simple tasks of a normal life that stroke often steals away from stroke victims.

All five Memorial Health System hospitals are recognized by The Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for expertise in treating patients experiencing a stroke.

  • Memorial Medical Center is a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
  • Decatur Memorial Hospital is a Primary Stroke Center.

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville and Taylorville Memorial Hospital are Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals.