The Power of Prompt Action: A Stroke, Fast Treatment and Recovery at St. Francis Medical Center

May 1, 2024 | Neuroscience, Patient Stories

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Although Ms. Willie Mae Davis downplays her experience of having a stroke last November at her home in Bosco, her story is a testament to the importance of fast treatment and care for stroke.

“When it happened, it just happened all at once,” Ms. Davis, 78, remembers. “I was coming in the house, made it to the sofa and I could barely sit down. My right side was stretched out and I slumped on the sofa.”

Ms. Davis could hear her daughter, Vicki Williams, calling her, but she could not answer.

A Family’s Swift Response

Vicki works in the medical field, so she knew what was happening and called her son who told her to get his grandmother to St. Francis Medical Center’s emergency room.

Warrick “Shonna” Williams, RN, works in the heart catheterization unit at St. Francis P&S Surgery & Heart Center, and he was on call when his mom called. 

“I knew she was having a stroke because she was slurring and slumped over,” Vicki remembers. “I called Shonna who told me ‘Time is of the essence; you’ve got to get her up here.’” Vicki’s next call was 911.

High-Quality Care at St. Francis

Ms. Davis was brought via ambulance to the ER, and Shonna was there as part of the team to continue her care. At St. Francis Medical Center, Ms. Davis received fast treatment, and the team was able to confirm she’d had a stroke. 

“When they got us to the hospital they gave her a clot buster drug,” Vicki says. “They did scans and then removed the clot that was in her brain.”

St. Francis interventional radiologists Michael Barnidge, MD, and Blake McGehee, MD, were able to work together to remove the clot completely. 

“I was awake the whole time,” Ms. Davis says. “I saw the clot when they pulled it out. I said, ‘Thank God, I believe I will live.’”

Jason Maljaars, MD, neurologist at St. Francis, emphasizes the importance of teamwork in cases like this.

“The collaboration among medical professionals, including our interventional radiologists, and the swift action taken in diagnosis and treatment made a difference for Ms. Davis, and it does for patients regularly here at St. Francis,” Dr. Maljaars says. “Without a doubt, teamwork and quick intervention significantly improve the chances of recovery from stroke.”

A Testament to Family Bonds

Shonna’s dual role exemplified the power of love and expertise working hand in hand to ensure the best possible outcome for a loved one. He was the ultimate professional and remained calm as Ms. Davis was assessed. 

“Shonna didn’t get emotional until after they retrieved the clot,” Vicki says. “He leaned over, hugged his grandma and he cried.”

Recovery and Gratitude

Ms. Davis stayed in the hospital for nearly a week and then was discharged back home. Her strength and speech are good, and she walks with a cane for safety. 

“That night they saved her life,” Vicki says. “It was a miracle because they don’t see too many patients come back for that clot. If it hadn’t been for St. Francis, I don’t think she’d be here today.”

The family was especially grateful for the care from nurses Josh, Addison, Sharon and Kacie, all of whom were very attentive to her and made sure Ms. Davis had everything she needed.

“My care was very, very awesome,” Ms. Davis says. “The nurses, doctors, housekeepers, everyone was just real nice.”

Learn more about your own risk of stroke by speaking with a primary care provider. Connect with one of ours here. 

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