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HEALTH WATCH: Fast Response Saves Paramount Resident’s Life

By Brian Hews

Paramount resident Alfredo Cuadros knew something was wrong.

On Nov. 6, Alfredo was out mowing the lawn when his right arm went numb and he started to feel nauseous. Alfredo had suffered from occasional seizures, but none of the seizures felt like this.

So he called out to his son-in-law Eliott Alvarez, who happened to be home at the time recuperating from a broken knee, for help.

Alvarez had been through some of Cuadros’ seizures, but none of them looked like this. He could see Cuadros’ right side was not moving, so he immediately called 911.

The paramedics arrived and recognized that Cuadros had what is called an ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke (clot) occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. 85% of the strokes that occur today are ischemic.

Cuadros was almost completely paralyzed because of the stroke; he could not move or speak.

Cyrus Osena, RN, BSN, MSNc, is the Stroke Coordinator at Lakewood Regional Medical Center. The stroke program at the center is designed to quickly assess and treat patients; and when it comes to treatment of a stroke, every second counts.

Lakewood Regional Medical Center also uses tissue plaminogen activator, tPA, which is heralded as the “gold standard” for treatment of strokes.

Osena’s training and the experience of doctors and staff at Lakewood Regional Medical Center would prove life-saving to Cuadros.

Back at the house, the paramedics were further evaluating Cuadros. All paramedics are required to call a registered nurse for evaluation of their patient. They advised the RN that he had all the symptoms of a major ischemic stroke.

During the evaluation, the paramedics learned that Cuadros was registered at Kaiser. Knowing that Lakewood Regional Medical Center had the most advanced stroke treatment center in the area, the paramedics insisted on taking Cuadros to the Center.

They got their way and Cuadros, along with his wife Yolanda Cuadros and their daughter Veronica was sent to Lakewood Regional Medical Center where Osena, the doctors and staff were waiting.

Osena noted that, “Cuadros came in with severe aphasia (can’t communicate), right facial droop, and right side paralysis.”

They took the necessary scans and confirmed the diagnosis.

Osena then sat with a teary-eyed Ms. Cuadros and her daughter and learned about tissue plaminogen activator.

Tissue plaminogen activator, is the only FDA approved treatment for ischemic strokes. Tissue plaminogen activator works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. If administered within 3 hours, tissue plaminogen activator can drastically improve the chances of recovering from a stroke.

A compassionate Osena told them that one possible side-effect, which has occurred in only 3% of patients who took tissue plaminogen activator, was death due to bleeding of the brain. He also told them that if Cuadros was left alone, he would be paralyzed and bed-ridden for life.

The Cuadros’ were obviously worried about the side-effects but at the same time did not want to see Alfredo paralyzed.

Osena called on the doctors and neurologist who both recommended tissue plaminogen activator to be given to Cuadros immediately. Yolanda gave her consent.

“The way they explained the pros and cons of tissue plaminogen activator in such a compassionate and descriptive manner is why I went ahead with the treatment, and it ended up saving my husband from a lifetime of paralysis,” Ms. Cuadros told HMG-CN.

The results of the tissue plaminogen activator treatment were almost immediate.

“Within ten minutes he was moving his right side, and the next day he was speaking, it was a miracle,” she said.

Indeed, after entering Lakewood Regional Medical Center with severe stroke symptoms, Alfredo Cuadros left the hospital the next day, was placed at Kaiser on Friday, then went home Saturday night, barely two days after his stroke.

HMG-CN learned of the story and called Ms. Cuadros this past Wednesday for an interview.

At the time of the interview, her husband was outside gardening, 6 days after having a massive ischemic stroke.

“Mr. Cuadros surviving his massive stroke and leaving the hospital in two days is a testament to the doctors and staff at our Primary Stroke Center,” said Ron Galonsky, CEO at Lakewood Regional Medical Center. “They all work extremely hard and treat each patient, along with their families, with the utmost care and compassion, recognizing, through their ongoing training, what is the best and most effective treatment for the patient, I am very proud of all of them.”

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