The medical treatment a stroke patient receives in the first 3 to 6 hours means the difference between life or death, or recovery and lifelong disability.
Rena from Israel, aged 81 was widowed recently and lives a semi active life as she suffers from borderline heart and kidney failure. Early one morning, she telephoned a neighbor, requesting she come over immediately. Within five minutes the neighbor, an active volunteer in the national stroke NGO, heard how Rena was suddenly unable to hold her coffee cup. A quick examination of seeing one hand drop when asked to lift both and the drooping of one side of her mouth were sufficient to immediately call an ambulance. The paramedic repeated the examination, after which he called the “trauma room”, which is equipped to diagnose all emergency patients received at the largest hospital in the city. Within three and a half hours of her original call, she was receiving the tPA treatment. Two days later she was discharged and has not suffered any after effects. When asked how come she knew to react immediately to the weakness in her arm, she said she always remembers the signs of a stroke from the FAST magnet on her refrigerator, a gift from her neighbor.