Monroe, Ga. (August 17, 2018) – What started as an ordinary night for Mona Hughes ended in a life-threatening medical emergency, but the fast actions of her husband and Piedmont Walton Hospital saved her life.
“It was just another night. My husband and I were halfway through our dinner, and I really didn’t feel well,” Hughes said. “My stomach felt off and my head was hurting, so I decided to sit back for a moment.”
That’s when Hughes’ husband Barry Hughes noticed something was seriously off.
“I tried to get her attention, and suddenly she wasn’t responding. It looked like she was looking through me,” Hughes said. “When she was responding, she was having trouble finishing sentences and couldn’t put her words together correctly.”
Based on her symptoms, Hughes immediately suspected his wife may be having a stroke, and he rushed her to Piedmont Walton’s ER.
Upon arrival, Hughes spoke to hospital staff, explaining what happened, and they immediately took her back to complete a brain CAT scan, which confirmed that stroke was the cause of her symptoms.
“Based on her CAT scan results, we quickly determined that Mona Hughes was having a stroke,” said William Thompson, M.D., Piedmont Walton. “Thankfully, Piedmont Walton provides TeleStroke services and Mona was able to be evaluated immediately by stroke specialist through videoconferencing technology. Our team then quickly administered treatment to her.”
The only approved treatment for an ischemic stroke is a tissue plasminogen activator, (tPA), a medication that dissolves blood clots, which is what Mona received, according to Dr. Thompson. When tPA is administered promptly, it can save lives and reduce long-term effects of stroke.
“Before she received her treatment, Mona wasn’t able to tell us her name or birthday, and she couldn’t lift her right leg and arm properly,” Barry Hughes said. “But not long after she received the tPA, she became alert again.”
Mona Hughes was then moved to Piedmont Walton’s intensive care unit (ICU), where she stayed for several days while recovering from her stroke. She was able to return home this same week symptom-free.
Since her medical scare, Hughes has vowed to take steps to ensure she’s living a healthier lifestyle and hopes her story raises awareness about the signs and symptoms of stroke.
“I feel so blessed that I walked away from this unaffected. I’ve been given a second chance to better myself,” Hughes said. “It’s so important to know the signs of a stroke because time means everything for someone having a stroke. I hope hearing my story educates others and raises awareness.”
Stroke, also referred to as a “brain attack,” occurs when a blood vessel breaks or a blood clot blocks an artery, interrupting blood supply to the brain. Strokes can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race or gender. The most common signs include sudden difficulty seeing, walking or talking; weakness on one side of the body; and a sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
The key to optimal recovery of a stroke is to act F.A.S.T.:
- Face– look for an uneven smile
- Arm– check if one arm is weak
- Speech– listen for slurred speech
- Time– call 911 right away
To learn more about stroke prevention and care, visit piedmont.org.