Each year, nearly 750,000 Americans suffer a stroke, the fourth leading cause of death in the US. When you're experiencing a stroke, every moment counts. "Time is so important with a stroke," Beaufort Memorial Stroke Coordinator Sheri O'Brien says. "The faster you get diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome."
Usually caused by a blood clot in the brain, a stroke can cause lasting damage in just a few seconds.
This is why BMH affiliated with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC Health) last fall to provide even quicker evaluation and treatment to stroke victims through a telemedicine program. The telestroke program offers BMH immediate, round-the-clock access to MUSC Health stroke care experts who can provide urgent consultations by virtually examining patients and brain-imaging studies.
None of this is news to stroke survivor Sherline Holmes. She didn't think much of it when she developed a headache while driving with her husband. Then her vision became blurry and her hands turned numb. This is when she realized something was definitely wrong.
“I was so afraid I would have permanent damage,” says Sherline. “I know so many people who have had strokes that didn’t recover completely”
"My husband turned the car around and we went straight to the hospital," Sherline recalls. "They told me I was really lucky I had gotten there so quickly."
As soon as Sherline arrived at the BMH Emergency Department, she was hooked up to a telemedicine cart that allows Beaufort physicians to consult with neurologists at MUSC Health in Charleston. After evaluation her condition, a MUSC Health physician confirmed Sherline was indeed experiencing a stroke. She was immediately given clot-busting medication, and blood flow to her brain was restored.
By the time Sherline was discharged from the hospital five days later, she had virtually no defects.
Now Sherline stays healthy with the help of blood-pressure-lowering drugs and exercise, and is back to spending quality time with her 3-year-old granddaughter.