Seconds count when treating a stroke | Ascension

Seconds count when treating a stroke

While at work, Jeff recognized that he was not feeling right. Thinking fresh air would help, he decided to step outside, but could no longer move his left hand and leg. It never occurred to him that he might be having a stroke.

“When I got up to leave the room, I made it to the end of the conference table and all of the sudden went down,” Jeff said.

Fortunately, Jeff’s assistant acted quickly and called 9-1-1. Jeff was taken to an emergency room (ER) at an Ascension Wisconsin hospital. A series of scans showed Jeff was having a stroke. Jeff was immediately transferred to an Ascension Wisconsin certified Comprehensive Stroke Center for a procedure that may have saved his life.

Ascension Wisconsin has a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in Milwaukee, meeting the most rigorous standards for diagnosing and treating complex strokes. This type of highly specialized stroke care is shown to help lead to better recovery for patients.

“Timing is critical in treating a stroke,” said Daniel Gibson, MD, neurointerventional surgeon. “Delaying care, even by a few minutes, can be the difference between recovery and permanent disability. Ascension stroke specialists are trained in the latest technology and best practices, which helps us diagnose a stroke in as little as seconds to quickly deliver treatment.”

Don’t postpone emergency care for stroke symptoms

Signs of a stroke are serious — don’t delay getting care. And avoiding care can make recovery more difficult. For example, if a patient receives hospital care within three hours of the first symptoms of an ischemic stroke, a stroke caused by a blockage in a blood vessel supplying the brain, a clot-busting medication may be given. Patients who receive this medication are more likely to fully recover and avoid suffering long-term disability.

In addition to our Comprehensive Stroke Center in Milwaukee, Ascension Wisconsin has eight Primary Stroke Centers throughout southeastern Wisconsin. These locations are certified to meet the unique and specialized needs of patients with acute strokes.

Stroke specialists at Ascension Wisconsin are trained in the latest technology, including RAPID Technology, an imaging tool that provides quick identification of a stroke, which helps us diagnose a stroke in as little as seconds and deliver treatment which can help minimize brain damage, open blood flow, help prevent recurring strokes and even reverse the damage. Our team of stroke specialists collaborate on diagnosing your stroke and delivering the care that’s right for you, right here. We’re beside you from the ER through recovery and rehabilitation.

Recognize the symptoms of stroke — BEFAST

The first step in getting treatment for stroke quickly is recognizing the warning signs. Do this for yourself and your loved ones. Follow these B.E.F.A.S.T. guidelines:

  • Balance: Check for sudden loss of balance
  • Eyes: Ask if vision is lost or unclear
  • Face: Look for face drooping or an uneven smile
  • Arm: Check for arm weakness
  • Speech: Listen for speech difficulty
  • Time: Time to call 911 right away

Committed to helping protect patients in our care

At Ascension in Wisconsin, our hospitals, ERs, clinics, and facilities are maintaining strict precautions for the safety of patients in our care:

  • Staggering appointments and limiting people in waiting rooms to allow for proper social distancing.
  • Continuing to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Screening patients, visitors, doctors, nurses and care teams before they enter.
  • Extensively cleaning and disinfecting all areas more often.

Compassionate, personalized care — even in an emergency

Jeff and his wife are grateful for the care he received from his doctors and care team at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee.

“The nurses and entire care team were all very attentive and made sure I was comfortable. I got great care all the way around,” Jeff said. “I am just amazed that they were able to do what they did. I am a very lucky person, no doubt about it.”

Even when the need is urgent, Ascension Wisconsin care teams focus on providing compassionate, personalized care at every step.

If you or a loved one is experiencing stroke symptoms such as sudden loss of balance, lost or unclear vision, face drooping or uneven smile, arm weakness, and speech difficulty, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911. Learn your risk for a stroke or find an Ascension Wisconsin ER or stroke center near you at