Health First Medical Experts: Delayed 9-1-1 Call May Cost You Your Life

By  //  June 22, 2022

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Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S.

Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell walks around the clubhouse answering residents’ heart and vascular questions. (Health First image)

Stroke experts, Cardiologist say blocked arteries don’t have to be deadly or cause long-term damage. Brevard residents enjoy world-class care in their backyards.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Health First stroke and cardiology experts gathered Thursday in Viera to deliver this life-saving medical message: If you’re experiencing stroke or heart attack symptoms, time is not on your side. And delaying that call to 9-1-1 may be debilitating – if not deadly.

“People are delaying getting to the hospital. They’re worried about calling 9-1-1. They’re not wanting to bother other people,” said Whitney Adkins, Neurosciences Coordinator and stroke expert at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center, the area’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center.

“With stroke, 2 million brain cells die every single minute.”

The presentation to the 55-and-older Grand Isles community clubhouse took place over a light lunch provided by Health First.

 Health First Neurosciences Coordinator Whitney Adkins pulls up a slide illustrating the alarming stroke statistics, including that stroke claims 2 million brain cells every single minute. (Health First image)

Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell told the audience of a recent case of a woman who came in complaining of “burning in her stomach.” She thought it was indigestion.

“She had a huge clot in her right coronary artery – she was having a huge heart attack. I sent her straight to the Cath Lab” where heart catheterizations are performed, he said. “Three weeks later, she’s fine – no heart damage.”

Adkins and colleague Chandra Etwaru played for the audience the harrowing recovery of a 35-year-old stroke victim featured on Fox 35 News in Orlando. Her stroke symptoms were spotted, and emergency responders rushed her to Holmes Regional, where she received a stroke-reversing thrombectomy.

“I’ll tell you something personal: I came from Duke University, which is one of the finest academic medical institutions in the world,” Dr. Campbell said. “Now that I’m at Health First, I have some of the best partners in the world.”

GRAND ISLES RESIDENT SHELBY SPILLARE is at the head of the line to see Dr. Kevin Campbell. (Health First image)

B.E. F.A.S.T.

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S., and there are about 800,000 each year. The mnemonic Adkins told Grand Isle residents to bear in mind B.E. F.A.S.T.

■ Balance Is you or your loved one unsteady?
■ Eyes Is there vision loss?
■ Face Does the smile look uneven?
■ Arm Is one arm weak?
■ Speech Is speech slurred?
■ Time Time to get help.

To begin exploring a person’s risk for stroke, Health First has developed a quick Stroke Risk Quiz, HF.org/Stroke.

Know Your Risks

Heart attacks and heart disease can be tougher to spot, so physicians often begin by discussing high-risk factors:

■ Age
■ Blood pressure
■ Cholesterol
■ Diabetes
■ Tobacco use
■ Inactivity

To learn more about your risk for heart disease, visit HF.org/Heart.

HEALTH FIRST NEUROSCIENCES COORDINATOR CHANDRA ETWARU speaks with Grand Isles resident Richard Buzzard. (Health First image)

“I think there are a lot of us in my age group who deny or don’t allow themselves to think of what might happen, and having Health First come in like this, I think the education is incalculable,” said Pat Dennis, a Grand Isles resident who coordinated the lunch with neighbor Lucie Caldwell.

“You know, if someone gets a headache and blurry vision, I want them to call 9-1-1,” Caldwell said, “and I think they got that out of the presentation.”

Visit HF.org/news_and_events to find out what’s happening at Health First.

Luncheon coordinator and Grand Isles resident Lucie Caldwell says it’s important that those who attended the luncheon take away this message: Don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. The presentation to the 55-and-older Grand Isles community clubhouse took place over a light lunch provided by Health First. (Health First image)
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