« Healthcare Highlights Saving Lives: WVU Stroke Center What is a Stroke? A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die. James Phillips of New Martinsville knows about stroke first-hand. Back in October, he was looking forward to a few holes of golf with his grandson. All of a sudden, things went terribly wrong. “I was disoriented. I couldn’t speak. I wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong, but I knew I had big problems,” he said. A stroke is a life-threatening emergency. When James missed his tee time, his grandson knew something wasn’t right and jumped into action. James was rushed to a nearby hospital. Stroke Symptoms Act FAST at these common signs of a stroke: Face: Does the face look uneven? Arm: Does one arm drift down? Speech: Does their speech sound strange? Time: If you observe any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. “They told me I was having a stroke and they were sending me to Ruby. I wasn’t scared. I felt calm. I thought, there’s not a better place to be,” he said. The WVU Stroke Center is nationally recognized for excellence. This designation helps the public know that we offer the best possible outcomes for stroke patients. The WVU Stroke Team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. James was transported immediately via helicopter to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where he was taken straight to the emergency room. The WVU Stroke Team was awaiting his arrival. Within minutes, the clot-busting drug TPA was administered. “When I hit the emergency room door, I was swarmed. There were people all around me. Everyone knew their job, and they did it well. This is what saved my speech, I’m convinced of it,” he said. “The doctors there absolutely saved my quality of life.” The multidisciplinary Stroke Team is equipped to treat stroke patients and to identify stroke symptoms as quickly as possible. The Stroke Team includes: Emergency medicine staff Neurologists and neurosurgeons Radiologists and neuro-interventional radiologists Nurses Pharmacists Rehabilitation therapists Care managers You can survive James spent two nights at Ruby. One week after suffering a stroke, he went back to work at his pharmacy. Not long after, he was back to doing exactly what he loves to do. “Ten days after I had a stroke, I played one of my better games of golf,” he said. “I would not be here today if I had not been taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, no doubt in my mind.” Click to learn more about the WVU Stroke Center.